As students headed back to school this fall, state legislators across the country took part in the National Week of Action on Public Education, sponsored by Progressive States. Pennsylvania's lawmakers were among the state leaders who used the National Week of Action to highlight education funding inequities harming Pennsylvania's students and to call for solutions.
In a rally  in Harrisburg, Representative James Roebuck (Philadelphia County) joined Education Voters, the Keystone State Education Coalition, Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley, and fellow lawmakers to call for a fair and transparent education funding formula for Pennsylvania students. Dozens of Pennsylvania parents, teachers, and community members from around the state stood on the Capitol steps to push for the equitable distribution of state education dollars. Right now, Pennsylvania is only one of three states  without such a standard school funding formula.
The steep cuts that have been imposed on Pennsylvania's education system are only magnifying the problems due to this lack of a standard distribution formula. Pennsylvania state budgets cut approximately $1 billion from the state's public schools in 2011, with almost 90% of the cuts still in place three years later. As Representative Roebuck, Minority Chair of the Pennsylvania House Education Committee, noted, the funding crunch isn't specific only to Philadelphia; it's a statewide problem. In fact, the state ranks seventh  worst in the nation in the K-12 funding  it provides to its school districts.
Inadequate investments in education are forcing too many Pennsylvania schools to do the "inconceivable," as Rep. Roebuck put it, and re-open in 2013 with no nurses, librarians, school counselors, and other professionals fundamental to a good education for our children. Given that a strong future for the country depends on strong public schools, Pennsylvania must do better. Joining with public school advocates across Pennsylvania, Rep. Roebuck is continuing to work towards achieving exactly that.
Find out more about the groups that participated in the rally here:
Pennsylvania State Rep. James Roebuck: http://www.pahouse.com/roebuck/
Education Voters PA: http://www.educationvoterspa.org
Keystone State Education Coalition: http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.blogspot.com/
Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley: http://educationmattersinthecv.wordpress.com/