Key Area(s): Access to high-quality, culturally-appropriate curriculum, teaching and learning in a safe and respectful environment, reduced threats of suspensions and policing, school funding
Education shapes much of who we are and what we do with our lives. It impacts the ability to break cycles of poverty. From toddlers taking their first steps to teenagers trying to figure out their next steps, our schools help children grow and learn. For many parents, choosing where you live and what school your child can go to is a big decision.
Where a family lives is tied to the children’s education options. In Pennsylvania, school funding models tie education resources to property taxes or income levels. This ensures an uneven system. Families that can afford higher taxes have the ability to choose to live in districts with better schools and more opportunities. Many families don’t have that option. That includes families that are displaced from their housing and have to find affordable housing elsewhere.
Our income largely determines what options are available in terms of where we can live and where our kids can go to school. It affects what type of opportunities our children can have inside and outside of the classroom. It also affects what stability and security they have at home and at school. It’s also important to remember that daycare centers and schools support parents’ ability to work and that many education workers, particularly for pre-K, are paid lower wages.
The quality of the school building, school policies, curriculum, and social interactions may affect students’ physical and mental health. Schools feed many children, some of whom might not otherwise eat.
Most school districts in the county rely on busing to get kids to and from school. In the City of Pittsburgh, many high school students rely on public transportation to get to school and back.
Air pollution, lead poisoning, and other environmental hazards affect children’s ability to learn and play. Asthma attacks on bad air days result in missed school. Our children might not be leaving school with the skills needed to live and work in a world with a changing climate—if they were even taught about the threat and how it connects to them.