PSEA's 20-20 Vision: Public School Funding
Pennsylvania’s Public School Funding: The foundation of the Commonwealth
For Pennsylvania to compete effectively in a 21st century economy, it must enable all of its citizens to develop their creative and productive abilities to their fullest. Studies have shown the significant contribution of education to individual growth, social progress and economic prosperity. In the global, knowledge-based economy, it is critical for every community in the Commonwealth to have top-notch public schools in order to compete for business investments and prepare their children to be successful individuals. It is also essential that state and local taxpayers are treated fairly, with their tax rates based on their real abilities to pay.
Pennsylvania students’ dramatic gains in a whole range of standardized test scores is further evidence of the impact public education funding can have on student learning. When highly skilled and talented educators, like PSEA’s members, have appropriate resources in the classroom, they can provide the Commonwealth’s students with the skills they need to fuel local, state, and national economic growth.
Pennsylvania must invest in the entire spectrum of public education services to provide economic prosperity for individuals and for the Commonwealth as a whole. Policymakers must commit to working with school districts, educators, parents, local communities, and other advocates to provide high-quality educational opportunities to every child in the Commonwealth, regardless of family background, economic status or the neighborhood in which they reside. Full and fair state funding is absolutely essential to ensure these goals are met.
After largely ignoring this essential objective for over a decade, the Commonwealth has made significant strides in the past several years. Investments in programs that are proven to work, like small class size, full-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten, have produced results. Even more important, the enactment of Act 61 of 2008, which for the first time since 1991 includes a statewide basic education funding formula, will make funding for public education in Pennsylvania more adequate, equitable, and predictable.
Now, the challenge is to sustain those achievements, fund them appropriately and maintain the fiscal discipline necessary to make them work for our students. PSEA envisions a public school funding system that continues and expands upon these essential proven investments. Fulfilling that vision will provide our teachers with the tools they need to educate our next generation of leaders, will promote the economic development of our communities, and will ensure that Pennsylvania’s state and local taxpayers are treated fairly and taxed based on their relative abilities to pay.
Return to www.psea.org/Vision