Subscribe to On the Issues. May 12, 2017
State Senator Vincent Hughes: On the Issues Facebook Twitter
Senator Hughes


All Studies Show that Class and Race Drive this Unconstitutional Reality

The fight for equal education funding in Pennsylvania has been going on for almost 50 years.  Generations of students in Pennsylvania have suffered because this state refuses to see all of Pennsylvania students as equal.

Despite recent efforts to address spending inequities among “rich” and “poor” school districts, two recent studies are showing that education funding is still being distributed unfairly with a distinct racial bias.

This is an outrageous injustice. Our children deserve every opportunity to succeed, and that means giving them the tools they need in the classroom.

Senator Hughes discusses the importance of PlanCon
Senator Hughes discusses the importance of PlanCon

The fact is, basic education funding has been a target of the right for years. We are still working to rebuild from the devastating $1 billion education cuts under the Corbett administration. We’re making progress but it’s clear that we have a long way to go.

In 2015, a bipartisan commission of lawmakers and administration officials crafted a basic education funding formula to address inequities in Pennsylvania’s education funding.

The problem is, the way the law is currently written, only “new” state funding gets funneled into this funding formula. That means only 6 percent of the state’s annual basic education subsidy (or $352 million) has gone into the basic education funding formula, while $5.9 billion was distributed under the old system.

Consequently, poorer school districts—and, specifically, school districts with a higher minority student population — still lost valuable state support that they desperately need.

Funding inequality in PA

That’s unacceptable.

Both the POWER and Education Law Center reports conclude that the state should distribute ALL of its basic education spending into the basic education funding formula to ensure “fair” funding.

We also need to invest more state dollars into basic education. Pennsylvania currently ranks 46th in the nation in state investments in education.

As the June 30 state budget deadline nears, I remain committed to fighting for better investments in public education and against discrimination that shortchanges our children.

Two Schools: 15 Miles and Worlds Apart

By Avi Wolfman-Arent | November 22, 2016

View Slideshow at


Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, and Overbrook High School in Philadelphia are a mere 15 miles from each other. But they’re worlds apart.

Take the matter of water — that most basic element of human life.

Upper Dublin's new high school, finished in 2012, features an 18-lane swimming pool with two spring-diving boards and a movable bulkhead that allows the pool to be configured for swim meets and water polo matches. The natatorium even has its own air-filtration system so the smell of chlorine doesn’t seep into the surrounding hallways or waft in the way of enjoying the tasteful mosaic that adorns the entryway to the facility.

Read More »


Studies Show Racial Bias in Pennsylvania School Funding

Pottstown and Mahanoy City Chart
This chart, taken from Pennsylvania Department of Education data, shows that while both Pottstown and Mahanoy City in Schuylkill County have similar levels of poverty, and would receive similar levels of basic education funding under the fair funding formula, Pottsown, which has a less-white population, receives significantly less under the current funding mechanism, while Mahanoy receives more than its fair share.
Graphic by David Mosenkis

By By Evan Brandt, The Mercury | April 30, 2017

POTTSTOWN >> People objecting to Pennsylvaniaís status as the state with the widest gap between funding for rich and poor school districts have argued that a zip code all-too-often determines the quality of a studentís education.

Apparently the color of a studentís skin matters even more.

New research has found that the less white a districtís students are, the more unfair the funding gap in state basic education dollars.

Continue at The Mercury »

Editorial: The shameful inequity in Pa. school funding

May 7, 2017

This newspaper has long been at the forefront of the argument for fair schools funding in Pennsylvania, arguing that the state Constitution guarantees every child a quality education regardless of wealth or address.

Now, two recent studies show the issue is about more than just zip code; itís also a matter of black and white.

A report last Sunday by Digital First Media reporter Evan Brandt highlighted research which shows that the less white a districtís students are, the wider the funding gap in state basic education dollars.

Continue at Delaware County Daily Times »

Pa. Schools are the Nationís Most Inequitable. The New Governor Wants to Fix That

By Emma Brown | April 22, 2017

PHILADELPHIA ó At Martin Luther King High, a hulking half-full school here, there arenít enough textbooks to go around. If teachers want to make a photocopy, they have to buy paper themselves. Though an overwhelming majority of students are living in poverty, no social worker is available to help. Private donations allow for some dance and music classes, but they serve just 60 of the schoolís 1,200 students.

At Lower Merion High, 10 miles away in a suburb of stately stone homes, copy paper and textbooks are available but are rarely necessary: Each student has a school-provided laptop. A pool allows for lifeguarding classes, and an arts wing hosts courses in photography, ceramics, studio art and jewelry making. The campus has a social worker.

Continue at The Philadelphia Tribune »

Learn more about the issues and provide your feedback on my website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).

Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes

4950 Parkside Avenue | Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215.879.7777
Fax: 215.879.7778
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
Phone: 717.787.7112
Fax: 717.772.0579