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Education Campaign

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Imagine Allegheny County as a place where all children have access to high quality learning environments from the first day of preschool until the last day of high school. Imagine a county where all children, no matter their zip codes, have access to schools with adequate funding and safe routes to and from home and out-of-school time opportunities. Right now, that is the reality for some, but not for all.

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Currently, the education policy work of Allies for Children concentrates on three primary areas: public school funding, attendance and out-of-school time programming.

Public School Funding

As a leading member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding, Allies for Children advocates for equitable and predictable Basic Education Funding and the resources necessary for each student to achieve the state academic standards. This is imperative, since Pennsylvania ranks among the worst states in the nation for equitable education funding. In 2017, the Campaign for Fair Education Funding is focusing its advocacy efforts on the continued utilization of the recently enacted fair funding formula and an increase in the number of dollars allocated for Basic Education Funding. In 2016, after two years of advocacy work by campaign members, including a Southwestern Pennsylvania coalition led by Allies for Children, the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted a fairer formula for the distribution of new Basic Education Funding. Advocacy efforts also contributed to a $400 million increase in allocations for Basic Education Funding, which resulted in school districts in Allegheny County receiving an additional $28 million total for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

Attendance

In 2015, Allies for Children published a comprehensive crossing guards study. The project, a partnership between A+ Schools, the City of Pittsburgh, The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Be There campaign and the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development, looked at ways to enhance safety measures and improve relationships between public safety officials and children and youth. Since the study’s release, Allies for Children played a leading role in a working group created by the Office of Mayor William Peduto to implement evidence-based recommendations, including those linked to safety and attendance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traffic-related danger and crime ranked high as barriers that reduced or prevented children from walking to and from school and out-of-school programs.

Out-of-School Time

Allies for Children continues to advocate for increased funding for and attention to out-of-school time opportunities. Allies for Children serves on the executive committee of Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST) and is a member of the Remake Learning Network. Recently, Allies for Children partnered with Mayor William Peduto, County Executive Richard Fitzgerald, APOST and other child-advocating and child-serving organizations on Summer 16 Dream! Explore! Do!, a youth-centered campaign aimed at providing local children, grades K-12, with fun, educational activities during their break from school. The campaign exceeded its goal of connecting more than 16,000 children and youth across Allegheny County to summer learning opportunities. Currently, Allies for Children is supporting the Summer 17 campaign.