Is It Equal? – May 17, 2024



Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, a decision that advanced equality and justice in America’s education system. The fight for justice in education continues today here in Pennsylvania.

Last February, the Commonwealth Court issued its groundbreaking ruling when it declared the PA school funding system unconstitutional. “It’s time for our state legislature to fund public schools in every corner of Pennsylvania so all students, whether or not they live in a wealthy community, can receive the quality public education guaranteed in our state constitution.” 

Sixty five percent of PA Black and Hispanic students do not live in wealthy communities and therefore attend underfunded schools. As a result, they suffer disproportionately from the impact of the grossly inadequate public education system.

Despite the Court’s ruling now more than a year ago, a million students are still waiting for lawmakers to comply with the constitution and provide sufficient resources for a quality education for every student.

That’s why with our partners across the state, Children First rallied hundreds of students, parents, educators, and fellow advocates to make our case in the state capitol last week.  Students and school staff who joined our delegation were face to face lawmakers urging them to do all that’s possible to finally fund public schools adequately. Their stories were heartbreaking – no counselors to support their mental health, overcrowded classrooms, outdated facilities, and few extracurricular activities to broaden their horizons.

Legislators know the solution to the problem – more state funding equitably distributed. But there’s resistance to the $5.4 billion solution, with claims that the state just cannot afford it. These claims come from the same lawmakers who passed a $3 billion tax cut the same week.

The Brown decision established as the law of the land that, “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” Yet 65% of PA Black and Hispanic students suffer from economic segregation that concentrates them in the most underfunded school districts with a very unequal educational experience. We must deliver on the promise of the historic Brown decision and overturn every barrier to equality and opportunity. 

Be a part of educational justice history and fight for fair funding at one of our advocacy days in Harrisburg (May 22, June 5, and June 12). Sign up here and we’ll arrange appointments with your legislators.

Tell your lawmakers to pass THE FAMILY CARE ACT and deliver paid family and medical leave to all PA workers!

The CO2 Coalition, a group tied to the fossil fuel industry, promotes a comic book to school children. Once Upon a Time “reveals that the gas, carbon dioxide, is not the ‘devil molecule’ that they have likely been taught, but the ‘miracle molecule’ that is fundamental to life.”

Let’s cross the finish line for school funding! 

We’re teaming up with our PA Schools Work coalition to hold virtual phone banks this spring. Sign up for a shift or two and, together, we’ll build a groundswell of support for our children’s education.

Today’s social media expedites the
transition from playful innocence to teenage
, abandoning the
developmental milestones that shape
healthy youth in the process. Plus, given
our full awareness of social media’s impact
on mental health — with rates of teen
depression and suicide skyrocketing —
introducing these apps to children only
further negatively impacts today’s teens.”

– Rida Hamid, Penn State student