PFT President Jerry Jordan on Ongoing School Funding Lawsuit

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January 10, 2022

In advance of Philadelphia witnesses being called to the stand in the landmark school funding lawsuit, PFT President Jerry T. Jordan issued the following statement:

PHILADELPHIA—"The case laid out by the prosecutors and witnesses in the landmark school funding lawsuit has been stark. For decades, this commonwealth has shirked its constitutional responsibility to provide every child across Pennsylvania with a thorough and efficient public education. As Philadelphia's witnesses begin to take the stand, we know that the extreme inequities and injustices will be laid bare even further. We have supported the lawsuit from the start and filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs. 

"I continue to be struck, yet unsurprised, by the unconscionable 'arguments' being put forth by the defense. In their opening statements, lawyers for Senate Majority Leader Bryan Cutler suggested that while school buildings may not be the 'Taj Mahal,' students across the commonwealth have 'chairs to sit in, desks or tables to write at, walls and roofs, working plumbing.' This statement, like so many since then as the trial has unfolded, is simply egregious. Perhaps the defense does not remember (or does not care) that it is, quite literally, raining inside of our school buildings

"Day in and day out, school communities in wealthier, whiter school Districts continue to benefit from a system of public education that is inherently inequitable. Students who are Black and brown, and students who are experiencing poverty are, time and again, shortchanged.

"In Philadelphia, we have spent the last eight years clawing our way back from a devastating billion dollars in education cuts that were laser focused on the students we serve. From mass layoffs to sweeping school closures, the tumult of the last decade will have lifelong impacts on our young people. They deserve so much more.

"Once again, I commend the plaintiffs and all of the witnesses who are taking the stand to outline exactly what is at stake when we fail, year after year, decade after decade, to provide our young people with the resources they need to thrive--and the resources to which they are constitutionally entitled."