A year ago, Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer ruled that Pennsylvania violates its constitutional obligation to create a “thorough and efficient” system of school funding. In response, legislative leaders and Governor Shapiro have charged the Basic Education Funding Commission with providing a blueprint for General Assembly action that would meet our constitutional obligation.
In in developing that blueprint, the General Assembly can learn from what other states have done. Seen from a national perspective, Judge Jubelirer’s decision is not an outlier. In response to similar court decisions, about half the states have added substantial state funding of K-12 education in the last thirty years. In almost every case, the judicial decisions, like that of Judge Jubelirer, focused on the inequity in school funding created by over-reliance on locally raised revenues to pay for schools.
Because Pennsylvania is a latecomer to school funding reform, a generation of our children has been denied a good education. And that is a terrible loss we have all suffered as a result. But the delay gives us the benefit of learning from the large body of research on education and school funding that was stimulated by reform efforts in other states. That research shows us how effective new funding for underfunded schools in Pennsylvania can be in lifting student achievement and in later-life success.Education Funding and Educational Achievement