The Philadelphia Inquirer: ‘Catastrophic failures’ of Pa. school funding mean students are disadvantaged from the start, plaintiffs argue in landmark trial’s closing

March 10, 2022

A landmark trial over Pennsylvania’s public school funding system concluded with closing arguments yesterday after four months. The petitioners include six school districts, several families, and two statewide organizations contending that Pennsylvania’s approach to education funding violates the state’s constitution and deprives students in low-income districts of quality educations. “A system that strands children capable of learning in districts that lack the resources necessary to teach them cannot be considered thorough and efficient,” said O’Melveny partner, Katrina Robson, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “A system in which hundreds of thousands of students fail to meet state standards in math, English language arts, and science cannot be considered adequate,” Robson argued. “The catastrophic failures of this system are not because children look at course guides and aren’t smart enough or industrious enough to seize opportunities,” Robson said, but “because they were denied those opportunities to begin with, from the very moment they had their needs triaged — as if they were walking into a field hospital instead of a kindergarten.” 

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