For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Contact: Beulah Osueke, (215) 696-0700 firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERFAITH COMMUNITY DEMANDS END TO “EDUCATION APARTHEID”
HARRISBURG, PA – This afternoon more than 300 faith leaders, students, parents, teachers, and education advocates from POWER, PA’s largest faith organizing effort, rallied in the State Capitol to call attention to the current widespread racial disparities in the way that state basic education dollars are distributed around Pennsylvania. The group of advocates is calling for an end to Pennsylvania’s “Education Apartheid” by demanding that the PA Basic Education Funding Formula be applied to the entirety of the state basic education budget, not just new money.
“No longer can we expect for our children to succeed when they are experiencing on a daily basis a devastatingly low quality of education due to Pennsylvania’s education apartheid.’” said Reverend Greg Holston, Executive Director of POWER. “On average the whitest districts receive almost $2,000 more than their fair share per student, while the least white districts receive around $2,000 less.”
Sheila Armstrong, POWER Community Organizer and Philadelphia parent pleaded, “I need our elected officials to do their jobs and provide a solid foundation for our future! We are suffering. The least that Senator Eichelberger could do to help our children, my children, is hold public hearings and allow us to share some of our challenges with the current shortage of funding.”
“It is unconscionable to continue to deny hundreds of thousands of our state’s black and brown children their fair share of state education resources. It’s time to stop pretending there’s no inequity or that it can’t be addressed,” said David Mosenkis, POWER leader and data analyst. “The solution is obvious and simple: Change the law to distribute 100% of state funding through the formula.”
After the rally, the activists marched to the office of Senator John Eichelberger, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, to demand public hearings by his full committee on the impact of the state’s inequitable funding system and solutions to remedy the problem. After 30 minutes of negotiation with a team of three delegates representing each branch of POWER (POWER Philadelphia, POWER Metro, and POWER Central) along with Executive Director Reverend Greg Holston, Senator Eichelberger agreed to hold a public hearing in early Fall.
Advocates pledge to continue calling on Senator Eichelberger to hold public hearings that allow testimony from students, parents, and school leaders throughout the state on the devastating impact of the state’s inequitable funding system. POWER announced that advocates from across the state will continue to return to the Capitol to push for equal and fair resources until the hearing date is set, and until state legislature dedicates itself to ending Pennsylvania’s education apartheid.
POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild) is an interfaith organization committed to implementing systemic change for the betterment of Pennsylvania. We represent populace from across the Greater Philadelphia area, transcending borders across race, faith, income level, and neighborhood. Learn more at www.powerinterfaith.org