Rep. Wild Highlights Funding Disparities in Allentown School District in Education and Labor Committee Markup on Inequities in Public Education
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) highlighted the disparities between the Allentown School District and surrounding suburban school district in a markup in the Committee on Education and Labor on the Strength in Diversity Act and the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act. She noted the Allentown School District, which primarily serves students of color, just narrowly avoided a financial crisis that could have prevented them from making payroll.
When Wild spoke about this in a previous hearing, the witness, Mr. John C Brittain, noted that this is “the 21st century form of what Brown vs. Board of Education was 65 years ago…. Today in the 21st century we’re dealing with concentrated poverty and class.”
“We know how vital a strong education is to ensuring that children succeed later in life,” Wild said. “In my home state of Pennsylvania, we’ve seen firsthand how failing to fulfill the promise of Brown v. Board is hurting students in the 21st century. Not surprisingly, most public schools in suburban, mostly white communities are well-funded, while the schools in communities with a majority of students of color are under-funded. And so the cycle of poverty and inequality continues. The Allentown School District – the third largest school district in Pennsylvania – is facing massive deficits and narrowly avoided a financial crisis last week that would have prevented them from being able to make payroll. What does that tell the teachers who work there? It goes without saying, these funding gaps ultimately lead to fewer positive outcomes for students of color and can harm entire communities. These disparities in my district reflect the reality of communities across the country where there are areas of concentrated poverty, and the schools in these areas do not have the funding or tax base necessary to provide strong opportunities for their students.”
Watch her full remarks here.
Wild voted in favor of both bills which passed Committee and now await a vote on the House floor.
H.R. 2639, the Strength in Diversity Act of 2019, would support local communities in their development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to address the effects of racial isolation or concentrated poverty by increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity in public schools. Decades of research shows that school integration is one of the most effective strategies for improving academic achievement and educational opportunity for disadvantaged students.
H.R. 2574, the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act would empower parents and communities to address – through robust enforcement – racial inequities including inequities in access to educational resources, in public education.