Op/Ed: Inequitable public schooling in a nation of equality

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Zack Zahlaway, Special to The Times

Zack Zahlaway

In a nation built on the principle that all people are created equal, how is it acceptable for certain children to receive more school funding based on their location and family’s income than other children? The fact of the matter is that this hypocritical truth plagues public school systems, especially in Pennsylvania.

In a research report done by the Education Trust, it was found that the most impoverished districts receive 17% less per student than the wealthiest districts. If it is to be true that one’s own success is a direct result of the work they put in, then the amount of work they put in must be the only variable, not the amount of funding provided to their school. Pennsylvania must uphold the standard of equality through its actions, specifically in public education.

What our state invests into our students is what we will get out of them. It is imperative that more funding is allocated towards education, since, according to the Pennsylvania School Board Association, the state ranks 46th in the nation when it comes to the share of funding designated to education. Once proper funding is allotted, it is essential that the money is distributed equitably, so that all students, regardless of race, ability, family income, or where they live, will have an equal chance of success in either college or their career.

My aunt is a teacher, and I have attended public school my whole life, which led to my interest in finding out more about the inequities within Pennsylvania’s education system. I decided to research what I could do to help right this wrong and found an opportunity with Pennsylvania State House Representative Melissa Shusterman’s campaign; Representative Shusterman supports increased and equitable funding for public schools, in addition to other necessary education reforms.

Fair funding for schools, regardless of a child’s personal situation, is common sense, not politics. It simply makes sense that some children should not be unjustly disadvantaged while others are given an increased opportunity for success.

Zack Zahlaway is a student at Conestoga High School.

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