Every student has the right to a high-quality K-12 public education, regardless of zip code, race, or income. Students must have access to safe school facilities, skilled educators, rigorous and current instructional materials, and pathways to explore their interests and talents.

Children First advocates on behalf of the approximately 1.75 million students attending public school in Pennsylvania. Children First and our coalition partners have successfully fought to secure fair funding formula in Pennsylvania, increased Basic Education and Career & Technical Education funding in the state budget, and implemented Level Up, a funding instrument that prioritizes the 100 most underfunded school districts in the state. But there is more work to be done to ensure state policymakers provide all students–particularly historically marginalized populations–with the K-12 educational resources they need to be successful.


  • Improve the education of 1.75 million public school children with $2.3 billion in new funding to begin to repair the aftermath of chronic underfunding.
  • Increase the share of Black and Hispanic high school graduates by promoting policies that boost their social and academic success.
  • Prepare at least 25,000 high school graduates for real world jobs by tripling access to career-related learning in Pennsylvania with $215 million in new CTE funds.
  • Advance state, local, and school district policies that promote healthy school development, racial equity and tolerance.
  • Build an educator pipeline that works to diversify our teacher workforce


Children First participates in three powerful education coalitions to advance our work:

PA Schools Work

PA Schools Work fights for equitable, adequate funding necessary to support educational excellence. Investing in public education excellence is the path to thriving communities, a stable economy and successful students.

Greater Philadelphia Extracurricular Collaborative (GPEC)

GPEC improves the quality and reach of out-of-school time and extracurricular programs in the Greater Philadelphia region so children reap benefits across every part of their lives.

Read by 4th

Read by 4th is a Philadelphia coalition of family, community, and systems leaders protecting every child’s right to read.



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