I have deep concern over a recent report on the condition of rural public education in Pennsylvania. “Why Rural Matters 2023,” compiled by the National Rural Education Association, highlights the urgent need to address the inadequacies and inequities our students face.
Students attending rural school districts across the state grapple with limited internet access and lack crucial school-based resources such as psychologists and counselors.
These students deserve the same opportunities and resources as their non-rural counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, leaving many students without necessary tools for remote learning and support for their mental health.
Rural schools are operating on an unequal playing field. The report emphasizes the need for increased investment and support in these communities. Basic internet access should be as readily available as electricity or water in every school building and in every student’s home. Students should not have to travel long distances to access assignments or struggle with limited connectivity.
This year’s school funding lawsuit decision makes it clear that closing the public school adequacy gap is crucial in ensuring that all communities have the resources they need to fully prepare our children for the future.
We must prioritize policy changes and modifications to the way public schools are funded, including increasing the state share of funding to districts and commonsense cyber charter school funding reform. Reliance on local taxes to make up the gap leaves lower-income districts at a disadvantage.
Our leaders must come together and take action. Our children deserve nothing less.
Executive Director, Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Source: Berkshire mont