Prepare to be inspired – Apr 26, 2024



At our press conference today on K-12 education funding, Pottstown Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez (far right in photo) presented exciting improvements in his district because of increased state funding. It inspired us so we’re sharing it to inspire you.

“I am here today to urge our legislators to pass the Governor’s budget to continue to provide critical resources for our Montgomery County schools and beyond.

For many years at events like this, I have reported on the negative effects of underfunding our schools, especially those schools which are a majority of Black and brown children in urban environments. But today, I’m going to do something different and share some of the wonderful progress we have made with the increase in state funding that we have received over the last couple of years.

Instead of reporting that our teachers are leaving because of the huge salary

disparity, we have been able to pay our teachers a better wage and retention is at an all-time high.

Instead of calling out a major mental health crisis, I can share that we’ve added and hired a school counselor for every single one of our schools going from a total of four counselors for 3,400 students to 12.

Instead of sounding the alarm on a lack of curriculum, research-based programs, or enrichment to support our most critical mission, the academic instruction of our students, I can share that we have been able to purchase updated curriculum series, with all of the supports that go with them. To quote one of our most senior first grade teachers, during my interview with her after the first year of implementing a new reading program, she said “Stephen, in 25 years  I have never seen my children learn to read so fast!”

Instead of reporting the discrepancy of progress between our district and other districts in the state, I can confidently say that our growth rate is nothing short of phenomenal. Over the course of the year, I give out hundreds of [academic] growth certificates and get to hear so many wonderful, inspiring educational rags-to-riches stories.

One such student goes to one of our elementary schools. His name is Imad and he came to us with a significant need. Two years ago, many of his classroom interactions with adults and students were very negative. He needed multiple services to help regulate his behavior and his academic growth and performance were not good! He very easily could have been another casualty of an underfunded school, but because we had extra resources, we were able to work with him, and help this young man [for] two solid years. He is now in the third grade and the joy of his teachers. I came into his classroom to give the growth award, and when Imad heard his name, he literally shouted for joy and jumped up to the applause of his entire class!!

We still have much work to do, but this is the evidence of what can happen when we adequately and fairly fund our schools. Just imagine the results for both the communities and the economy of our great Commonwealth when our public schools are fully funded!”

Hear for yourself the compelling speeches form Montco students and education leaders here.

The child care crisis is far from over!

Meet us in Harrisburg on Wednesday, May 1st to advocate for more funding so parents can get affordable, high-quality care for their kids. Details and registration here.

Nationally in 2022, more than 1 in 10 young children had a parent who had to quit, turn down or drastically change a job in the previous year because of child care problems. And that burden falls most on mothers, who shoulder more child-rearing responsibilities and are far more likely to leave a job to care for kids.

Right now, legislators in Harrisburg are debating a proposal that would start to close the unconstitutional funding gap to PA’s public schools. Find out what it would mean for Bucks County and what you can do to advocate for a quality education for every child. Register here for this virtual event.
“Contrary to small government ideology, only
through sizable infusions of government
funds can these kids be educated properly.
The lives of the neediest are just as worth-
while as other children’s and should not be
valued in dollars. The answer to providing
good educational opportunities for every
student is to fully invest in public schools,
which can present pathways to thrive for
all, regardless of their circumstances.”
– Lansdale resident Beverly Hahn in a
Philadelphia Inquirer letter to the editor