Harrisburg, PA ―Teach Plus Pennsylvania today issued the following statement in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget for 2021-22, which includes nearly $2 billion in new funding for public schools.
“Teach Plus and Teach Plus teacher leaders are pleased to see Governor Wolf’s proposal for a historic, much-needed investment in Pennsylvania’s schools and students,” said Laura Boyce, Teach Plus Pennsylvania Executive Director. “The vast majority of schools across the Commonwealth are chronically underfunded, and the pandemic has only exacerbated inequities in educational access and district budget shortfalls. If passed, this proposal would be a major step toward educational equity and fair funding in Pennsylvania, and would particularly benefit students of color and low-income students, who disproportionately attend underfunded schools.”
Pennsylvania’s state share of total education funding has long been among the lowest in the nation, with large disparities in funding between the wealthiest and poorest districts. Over the past five months, Teach Plus Pennsylvania’s Teacher Policy Advisory Board has been advocating for both a significant increase in overall state education funding and a more equitable distribution mechanism that addresses the dire needs of the most underfunded districts. Governor Wolf’s proposal addresses both of these priorities by increasing the overall investment in education by more than 20% and also ensuring that most of the funding is distributed through the equitable Basic Education Funding formula, which takes into account student need.
Holly Meade, a Teach Plus Advisory Board teacher who teaches at Northeast Intermediate School in Scranton and has written about how underfunding affects her students, said, “Governor Wolf's proposed historic increase in education funding would mean that my students could have their library back, have gym more than once every six days, have access to the online supplement to their textbooks, and receive access to resources that other districts take for granted. The General Assembly passing this budget would prove to my students that their education is just as important as other children’s education across the state of Pennsylvania.”
Jessica Keys, a Teach Plus Advisory Board teacher who teaches at West Allegheny High School in Imperial, added, “A commitment to equitable funding in education is a commitment to the future of our Commonwealth, and demonstrates an inherent belief in the limitless potential of all our children.”
As the General Assembly debates the Governor’s proposed budget, Teach Plus calls on legislators across the Commonwealth to seize this opportunity to demonstrate the value they place on education and their commitment to ensuring that every single child in Pennsylvania attends an adequately and equitably funded school.
About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students. teachplus.org