Reading member leader Johana Reyes speaks on behalf of her two daughters at the Reading School District in support of Pennsylvania's school funding lawsuit. Read her speech below
Good afternoon. My name is Johanna Reyes, I am a member leader of Make The Road Pennsylvania and joined in 2016, our Parent Committee fights for equitable and quality education for our children. I have lived in Reading for 16 years, I have two girls who go to school in the Reading school district, and I am here today because I’m fighting for my daughters to have quality education and access to the school resources and opportunities they deserve. It is urgent that Pennsylvania provides permanent fair and equitable funding for our schools. As part of the Reading School District, many times my daughters have come home hungry because they cannot eat the food they are served at school because it’s not good or the food served has already expired. They should provide nutritious and fresh food. Schools lack basic materials, up-to-date books, safe water, nurses, mental health support, mathematics, science and engineering labs, art and music teachers. Smaller classrooms and remediation for students with learning difficulties.
Our current state school funding system fails to provide a quality education for students in districts with fewer resources – like the Reading School District, where my two daughters go to school. The failure of the state legislature to fairly fund public schools harms students of all backgrounds, but especially Black and Latino students that are concentrated in the least wealthy school districts such as the Reading School district.
If state lawmakers don't increase funding for public schools, my daughters and the other children who live in Reading will continue to be left behind. My dream is that my daughters have quality education and access to all the resources they need to graduate and achieve their full potential. With quality education and access to resources, my daughters could one day become what they dream of today, perhaps doctors or own their own business but for sure they will NOT be part of the “McDonald's Track” that racist lawyers think our children should do.
Today's children are the future of this nation, they are the future of this state and all of our children deserve a quality education. It is unfortunate that the communities that need the most receive less and that is why we are here today demanding permanent equitable funds for the schools with the greatest need.