It’s not rocket science – Oct 13, 2023



The first Latina astronaut to go to space, Ellen Ochoa, said, “The opportunities I had were a result of having a good educational background. Education is what allows you to stand out.” With six out of 10 Hispanic students attending Pennsylvania’s most underfunded schools, it’s going to take a rocket ship to lift their life chances.

It’s then no surprise that six out of ten Hispanic students are behind in Science and English/Language Arts, and eight out of ten are behind in Math.

Hispanics are the fastest growing population in Pennsylvania, making their home in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but also smaller cities and towns along the “222 Corridor” like Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown, Lancaster, and York.

What these areas have in common are some of the most underfunded public school districts in the state. It’s not rocket science – districts with more money can afford experienced teachers, enrichment programs, tutors, up-to-date libraries and curriculum, technology, extracurricular activities, and support services that help students reach for the stars.

When Hispanic students attend schools with better resources, they do better. In Philadelphia’s collar counties, which have many well-funded districts, Hispanic students score higher on both ELA and math.

Language is another hurdle for a lot of Hispanic students. Nearly 25% of them need ELL (English Language Learner) support; they can’t master the content until they understand the language. Fortunately, one of the things going right in PA’s education funding is the extra funding that districts get for ELL students, but teachers report that they need more. Too often, ELL classrooms are overcrowded and under-resourced.

For older children who are fluent in English, they often have to be the translator for their parents because the school can’t afford translation services for materials or in-person meetings. 

When President Kennedy spoke about sending a man to the moon in 1961, he probably didn’t imagine Ellen Ochoa flying among the stars. But he did put America on the path to take on a challenge “that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” 

As we near the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, Pennsylvania lawmakers would do well to take Kennedy’s words to heart and not delay the work to nurture future Hispanic astronauts, doctors, entrepreneurs, and leaders by investing in education. Anything else is a failure to launch. 

Gun violence is taking a huge toll on Philly’s kids and the next mayor must make safety a top priority. Join the Kids’ Campaign on October 23rd for the release of The Kids’ Agenda, and be a part of the movement to make Philadelphia the best place to raise a family. 在这里注册.

Since the pandemic, there has been a huge nationwide spike in K-12 students – as young as 10 years-old – bringing loaded guns to schools to either settle a score or protect themselves from assault on campus or on the way to/from school.

You’re invited to learn how to “chip away” at lead poisoning and keep PA kids safe. Join the free Lead-Free Promise Project conference to learn the latest techniques to protect children from lead hazards.

Keynote speakers include state Rep. Donna Bullock and Ruth Ann Norton from the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative. 在这里注册.

“For far too long, we have allowed
Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice practices to
routinely undercut the stability of families,
communities and the economy
. Our system
currently removes kids from home, disrupts
their education and spends significant
taxpayer dollars on interventions that aren’t

– State Senators Camera Bartolotta (R)
and Anthony Williams (D), and state
Representatives Natalie Mihalek (R)
and Melissa Shusterman (D), chairs of the
islative Youth Safety Caucus