The Pennsylvania Bar Association adopted a resolution on April 15, 2014 that cited the numerous failures of the Public Education System in the Commonwealth created by “the vast disparity in public resources available for students around the commonwealth.”
The two most pressing concerns expressed by the Bar Association were the “widespread failure” of public schools to meet the standards laid out by the State Board of Education and the staggering gap in terms of the amount of resources available to students that reside in different areas of the Commonwealth.
The Bar Association noted that the academic shortcomings by the public schools are most evident through the figure that 49 percent of public schools throughout Pennsylvania are failing to meet their state targets of 70% of their students achieving a “proficient or above” status in Reading and 73% of students “proficient or above” in Math.
The source of this problem is the lack of a centralized formula designed to provide public schools with sufficient resources. The Bar Association called attention to the persistence of funding inequality that has resulted without a formula in place, since the level of public spending on a student’s education in public schools ranges from $8,200 to $22,500 depending on the location of the school district.
The General Assembly previously enacted a state educational funding formula in response to a resolution by the House of Delegates in June of 2008. However, the formula was abandoned after three years.
The new resolution by the Bar Association once again called on the General Assembly to enact legislation that would introduce a new formula intended to better distribute resources for public schools throughout all districts in Pennsylvania.
Click here for the Law Center’s report on this issue.