Pennsylvania doesn’t spend enough on schools, state education secretary testifies
Pennsylvania secretary of education Noe Ortega testified Tuesday at the fair funding trial that the state cannot reach its goals for post-secondary enrollment and completion without investing more in K-12 education.
He also said that wide gaps in post-secondary attainment between students of different racial and socio-economic groups are due to inadequate investment and inequitable distribution of resources.
Attorney Dan Urevick Ackelsberg of the Public Interest Law Center presented Ortega with data showing that while nearly half of white high school graduates from the class of 2011 – 46.3% – attained a college degree within six years, that number dropped to 19.9% for Black students and 20.7% for Hispanic students. For economically disadvantaged students, the number was also 19.9%. Overall, just 42% of Pennsylvania high school graduates attained a college degree.
“Can these disparities in college attendance and attainment be overcome without increasing investment in K-12 education? Ackelsberg asked.
“It would be difficult,” Ortega responded.