TRJ Explores Inequities in Pa.’s Education Funding System

Toward Racial Justice explores inequities in Pennsylvania’s public education funding system Thursday, March 4 at 7pm on WITF’s YouTube Channel.

For decades, students of color have lagged behind their peers in academic achievement across the country. Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, the school-funding formula hasn’t been able to remedy the disparities between affluent and poor public-school districts. A recent analysis shows that Pennsylvania schools need an additional $4.6 billion to close those education gaps.

Join us as we explore some of the racial disparities within Pennsylvania’s education funding system. We’ll also look at the inequities surrounding technology, staffing and basic needs that are not being met for many students of color across the state, as well as the impact this can have on their future.


Crystal Echeverria — Student in Harrisburg, View her bio

Liberation can only be achieved through education, so the fact that we are still having this problem is not to our own fault, but the system that has kept us shackled for so long.

Deborah Gordon Klehr — Executive Director of the Education Law Center, View her bio

Closing funding gaps and ending racial disparities in education are essential because of the basic principle that all children should have access to quality education opportunities – regardless of the color of their skin, their ZIP code, how much money their family has or what language they speak at home. All children should have a right to a high-quality learning environment.

Kelly Lewis — Founder & Chair, Equity First, View his bio

Dr. Damaris Rau — Superintendent, School District of Lancaster, View her bio

Education is the path out of poverty. Providing our students the same opportunities as their suburban peers is essential. The equitable funding of schools enables poor districts to provide additional resources to our students. This may mean more science equipment for hands on learning or reading specialists to close reading gaps among our youngest learners.

Beth Yoder — Teach Plus PA Advisory Board Fellow and President of the Federation of Pottstown Teachers, View her bio

Register to Attend

Thursday, March 4 at 7pm Streamed LIVE on WITF’s YouTube Channel

Share your personal experiences or ask questions that we can address during this conversation. Email us at or share your story using #RacialJusticePA.

Our goal is to elevate underrepresented voices with special emphasis on giving young people a platform to discuss their views. Race and racism are uncomfortable topics. Our objective is to help serve as a catalyst for change by bringing people together to discuss possible solutions and inspire collective action.

The committee of co-organizers include:

  • Jankail Adams — Parent Liaison for the PA State GEAR UP-3 program, Harrisburg School District
  • Sharia Benn — President & Executive Artistic Director of Sankofa African American Theatre Company
  • Corey Dupree — Chief Operating Officer at The Bridge: Eco Village in Harrisburg
  • Stephanie A. Jirard — Chief Diversity Officer & Professor of Criminal Justice at Shippensburg University
  • Mark Rhodes — Diversity Educator and Strategist, Owner of Key Learning Consultants and a Commissioner with the City of York Human Relations Commission
  • Delma Rivera-Lytle — Diversity Education Specialist at Central York School District
  • Major Kristal M. Turner-Childs — Director, Bureau of Forensic Services, Pennsylvania State Police & WITF Board Member

The entire conversation will be live streamed and recorded so those unable to attend can watch, listen and share. Visit to watch past conversations and find additional resources.

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