William Penn SD v. PA Department of Education 2023 Commonwealth Court Opinion

Beginning.  I've not yet read the entire 786 pages of President Judge Jubelirer's opinion, but I intend to.  Currently, I've read to about page 86.

Congrats to the school districts, parents, students and two non-profits who were the petitioners in this case.  Congrats to the attorneys from The Education Law Center-PA and the Public Interest Law Center, who represented the petitioners for the past nine years!

Education Law Center 2-7-23 Press Release William Penn v. PDE
​Because I have a foot in both the legal profession and I was a classroom teacher in Pennsylvania's public high schools, I'm going to be following what happens within our state government as a result of this case.  I've started this blog to record "the play by play" once a week and learn from others who are also involved and watching. 
Here is the first legal response to Judge Jubelirer's decision.  On 2-17-23 legislative leaders requested post trial relief.  It is possible they may appeal Judge Jubelirer's decision to the PA Supreme Court.

In an effort to encourage my fellow educators and school/system leaders to read the opinion and put their comments and opinions in this blog leaders, I have included two items:

Judge Jubelirer's William Penn v. Pennsylvania Department Education 2-7-23 Opinion


Copy of Two Page Order from William Penn v. PDE

William Penn School District; :
Panther Valley School District; :
The School District of Lancaster; :
Greater Johnstown School District; :
Wilkes-Barre Area School District; :
Shenandoah Valley School District; :
Jamella and Bryant Miller, parents of :
K.M., a minor; Sheila Armstrong, :
parent of S.A., minor; Tracey Hughes, :
parent of P.M.H., minor; Pennsylvania :
Association of Rural and Small Schools; :
and The National Association for the :
Advancement of Colored :
People-Pennsylvania State Conference, :
Petitioners :

v. : No. 587 M.D. 2014

Pennsylvania Department of Education; :
Kim L. Ward, in her official capacity as :
President Pro-Tempore of the :
Pennsylvania Senate; Mark Rozzi, :
in his official capacity as the :
Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of :
Representatives; Josh Shapiro, :
in his official capacity as the Governor :
of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; :
Pennsylvania State Board of Education; :
and Dr. Khalid N. Mumin, in his :
official capacity as Acting Secretary :
of Education, :
Respondents :


NOW, February 7, 2023, following trial in this matter, Petitioners’ Petition
for Review is GRANTED. The Court DECLARES as follows:

1. The Education Clause, article III, section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, requires that every student receive a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically, which requires that all students have access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education;

2. Respondents have not fulfilled their obligations to all children under the Education Clause in violation of the rights of Petitioners;

3. Education is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Pennsylvania Constitution to all school-age children residing in the Commonwealth;

4. Article III, section 32 of the Pennsylvania Constitution imposes upon Respondents an obligation to provide a system of public education that does not discriminate against students based on the level of income and value of taxable
property in their school districts;

5. Students who reside in school districts with low property values and incomes are deprived of the same opportunities and resources as students who reside in school districts with high property values and incomes;

6. The disparity among school districts with high property values and incomes and school districts with low property values and incomes is not justified by any compelling government interest nor is it rationally related to any legitimate government objective; and 

7. As a result of these disparities, Petitioners and students attending low-wealth districts are being deprived of equal protection of law.


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