Oct. 4, 2023 7:00 am

What is the cost of inadequate education?

Reimagining Education in the Philadelphia Region: Serving the Needs of a Changing Commonwealth

photo by arburkholder, used via creative commons

“The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”


Article III, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states that PA and its leaders have a commitment to a thorough and efficient public education system. It also states that it serves the needs of the Commonwealth. But how do those needs fit with the state’s 13,000,000+ residents and the 4,000,000+ residents of the five-county region that live here?

In Delaware County, The William Penn School District has been fighting the funding model that currently resources this maintenance and support. But as with most things in America written by people who served in a different time – what are the needs of the Commonwealth in 2023, as opposed to 1968? While the Commonwealth has been found in violation of this amendment, is it still valid or does it require more? When this amendment was passed, America was in a civil rights movement, students across the country and especially in Philadelphia took to the streets to protest conditions, and Harrisburg looked nothing like it does today, so what other needs are there? Some might argue that a lot has changed, but as the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Recently, Generocity had the opportunity to attend the Clinton Global Initiative – a gathering of thought leaders from around the world to discuss and implement world-changing solutions. While it was also Climate Week and global warming was a common thread through many of the conversations, one topic was not the focus of the conference, poverty and educating and improving our society.

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In his keynote address, titled “What Causes Crisis,” the Reverend William Barber II, highlighted that Joseph Stiglitz “says we’ve been asking the wrong question. The question we often ask is: How much could it cause? The wrong question. We should be asking how much it costs”

When it comes to education in the Philadelphia region, we often focus on the funding needed for equitable services, the cost of education and training, the price of upgrading buildings, etc… But when do leaders start asking what it costs us when we don’t fund, educate and prepare students equitably? What does it cost us when our youth are inadequately educated, when our workforce is not prepared, and when the needs of the youth exceed those of the commonwealth?

What questions should we be asking ourselves?

What solutions for you have?

What is needed to better prepare our youth for an evolving future?

How should we reimagine education and what it means to be thorough and efficiently provide education?



Share your questions or solutions?


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