Following the release of the Basic Education Funding Commission report, PFT President Jerry T. Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA--"I applaud the Basic Education Funding Commission for their bipartisan commitment to examining school funding inequities in our Commonwealth, and specifically the Democratic committee members and individuals representing Governor Shapiro's administration for laying out a plan that addresses many of the inequities that we have shined a light on for years. While we are still reviewing the details, our initial impression is favorable in many aspects. We believe that the mechanisms laid out by the Commission, if enacted into law and implemented with fidelity, have the capacity to move school funding forward in the right direction.
"We appreciated the bipartisan recognition that funding for public education schools must be recalculated. Specifically, Report Two outlines key investments in school facilities and a significant increase in basic education funding. An additional $1.4 Billion in Basic Education Funding allocated to the School District of Philadelphia is significant.
"I was pleased to offer testimony to the Commission, in which I outlined just a fraction of what an investment agenda for our young people must encompass. Following my testimony, I also shared a letter with elected officials once again outlining the overarching need for real investment in our students.
"For years, this system of public education has continued to shortchange Black and Brown students and students experiencing poverty.
"Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer's February 7, 2023 landmark court ruling was a searing 800+ page indictment of our current system of funding public education, and it codified what all people of conscience have known and fought to remedy for years: Pennsylvania is woefully negligent in meeting its constitutional (and moral) obligation to provide every child in our great Commonwealth with a thorough and efficient system of public education.
"As we continue to review the report, and as the Legislative and Executive branches gear up for a budget season, I would be remiss not to note that Judge Jubelirer's order directly addresses the need for investments in public education. Quite frankly, it is irresponsible and in fact immoral for our tax dollars to continue to fund vouchers in any form--be it via EITC/OSTC funding or in any voucher legislation (including the "Lifeline" or "PASS" program). A recent EdVotersPA report called attention to the discriminatory practices enacted by schools receiving taxpayer funded EITC/OSTC across the Commonwealth. Additionally, the research on vouchers as a whole show that they are ineffective at best.
"The Legislative and Executive branches must be laser focused on enacting the funding formulas that will fully and fairly fund public education.
"As such, the BEF Commission Report Two is decidedly a critical step in the right direction towards righting decades of wrong: decades of disinvestment, decades of neglect, and decades of deeply seated racism that has time and again left Black and Brown children to suffer the most. It is our moral, and legal, obligation to do right by all of our young people, and the time is now to act with the urgency that this moment requires."
- EdVotersPA Report on Discriminatory EITC/OSTC Programs (12/1/2023)
- NCPE (National Coalition for Public Education)
- Jordan's Basic Education Commission Testimony (9/14/2023)
- Jordan's BEFC Accompanying Research (9/14/2023)
- Jordan's Letter to Democratic Members of Pennsylvania House (10/6/2023)
- Collection of Jordan's Policy Positions and Memos Related to Public Education Investments (6/2023)
- Josh Cowen, Professor of Education Policy at Michigan State University on Vouchers (2/21/2023)
- Jordan's Statement in Response to Judge Jubelirer's Ruling (2/7/2023)
- Statement on Second Amicus Brief filed by PFT in Landmark School Funding Lawsuit (5/9/2022)