I’m teaming up with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding to speak out for students across Pennsylvania. Although I am receiving some form of compensation, all opinions remain my own. #FairFundingPA
We moved to our current home about four years ago. At the time, I was considering leaving my job and long commute behind, so I put my son in daycare part-time and went through the process of getting cleared and trained to become a substitute teacher in our new school district, Line Mountain.
It wasn’t a long process, and I received exactly five 5 total hours of training before they were willing to turn over an entire classroom to me. I didn’t decide to leave my job for another two years, so I never ended up substituting, but I sure did learn a lot during that short, eye-opening process!
First, teachers were in short supply. I knew this because my phone rang every single day for two months before I had myself taken off the list. Supplies of all kinds were in short supply, too, as it was explained to me by the teachers I worked with during my observation hours. Schools themselves were in short supply, in fact – the elementary school right next to our new daycare closed down not long after we settled in to our new house, and all of the students were sent to another building nine miles away. Maybe these daycare centers could learn a thing or two from international partners such as Teddy Kids kinderopvang?
The correlating factor between all of these “shortages?” Funding. Budgets. Cash money. It costs money to hire and keep teachers, purchase supplies, and keep schools open and running with a manageable number of students in each classroom. Dollars that aren’t being doled out the way we might expect, causing budget crunches and money-saving measures that puzzled this 40-something-year-old mom (who, incidentally, had been out of the education system for long enough to be shocked at the thought of teachers buying supplies out of their own pocket money.)
Shocked enough to learn more, and then stirred up enough to get involved with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding.
[Help us spread the word by pinning the image below.]
Our district isn’t alone, and as it turns out, many are much worse off. According to the National Center on Education Statistics 2015 report, Pennsylvania has the widest funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts of any state in the country. Per pupil spending in PA’s poorest districts is 33 percent less than in PA’s wealthiest districts.
[Tweet “PA has the widest funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts in the US. You can help. #FairFundingPA”]
The absence of a real formula used to allocate funds, combined with state funding cuts in recent years, is costing our students dearly. According to a recent PASA-PASBO report, since 2010-11, 93 percent of school districts reduced staff, 50 percent furloughed teachers or other staff, 74 percent cut or reduced at least one academic program 57 percent increased class size. This very topic was in my local newspaper about a week ago, and the thought of my children losing out on art or music education hit home, and broke my heart. It also made me realize that for many parents, that means public schooling and homeschooling at the same time to achieve a well-rounded education. But should that really depend on the money your district is given simply because of its zip code or income level?
In a nutshell, parents in lower income districts are having to spend more of that income making up for the education deficit that is caused by sending more money to higher income districts? What!?
The Campaign for Fair Education
This is where the Campaign for Fair Education comes in, offering ways for you, me and all Pennsylvanians to get involved. In short, the mission of this statewide, non-partisan effort is to ensure that all corners of Pennsylvania adopt and maintain an adequate and equitable system of funding public education by 2016. Every public school must have the resources necessary to enable every child to meet state academic standards, be prepared for post-secondary success, and become productive, knowledgeable, and engaged adults.
All students. Every school. Fair education.
What can you do?
Whether you have 5 minutes or a full day to devote, there is a way that YOU can get involved and make a difference for kids in PA.
- Visit the Get Involved section at FairFindingPa.org to find out how you can contact your state legislator. It seriously only takes 5 minutes, and the steps are mapped out clearly for you.
- Sign up for the Campaign for Fair Education Funding email newsletter. You’ll receive campaign updates and valuable info about what’s happening.
- Speak out about the issue using the Hear Me interactive website. [need to elaborate here, add link.]
- Follow the Campaign for Fair Education Funding on Facebook and Twitter so you can stay in the loop and join the conversation about #FairFundingPA.
- Contact the organization to see other current ways to get involved.
Really want to RALLY?
Join the Rally for Fair Funding: Tuesday, June 23
On Tuesday, June 23 the Campaign for Fair Education Funding along with hundreds of parents, students, teachers, and community leaders from across the state will rally for fair education funding at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.
WHO: The Campaign for Fair Education Funding
WHAT: Rally for Fair Funding
WHERE: The state Capitol, Harrisburg
WHEN: Tuesday, June 23 (12 p.m. press conference)
WHY: We cannot afford to let our students fall behind.
Want to join us? Fill out this form and someone from the Campaign will get in touch with you.
(Free transportation is being provided from Pittsburgh. Reserve a seat here.)
If you can’t be there, you can help by tweeting! I’ll be live tweeting the event from 12-1pm, so you can retweet me or retweet directly from the @FreeFundingPA Twitter account. Either way, you’ll be helping in a HUGE way! We need that those messages to be seen!
Has your school district been affected by a lack of funds? How will you get involved?