Funding, Segregation, and Education Inequality

Although public education is an option for every child in the United States, issues with funding, segregation, and inequality persist to this day. Public schools receive some funding from the federal and state governments, but the majority from local town taxes. According to the Pennsylvania School Board Association, Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the country for the state's share in funding public schools. For the entire cost of the state's public schools, roughly 38% is covered by state funding.

As a result, affluent school districts have a larger source of income from taxes than poorer districts. In most cases, districts that have more students in poverty are also districts with the largest percentages of minority students. This disparity makes it harder to ensure each student has the same resources and opportunities, regardless of where they attend school. Take a look at the comparisons between Upper Merion and Norristown Area Public School Districts:


A Case Comparison: Upper Merion and Norristown Area School Districts

Upper Merion Area School District is comprised of students from Upper Merion, Bridgeport, and West Conshohocken. Norristown Area School District is comprised of Norristown, East Norriton, and West Norriton. Of the towns in these two districts, Upper Merion and Norristown have the largest population.

Map of Montgomery County Pennsylvania School Districts

Montgomery County School Districts Map, Photo Credit:

Upper Merion Area School District has a budget of $110,593,789 for the 2020-2021 school year. With roguhly 4,177 students, that means they can contribute roughly $26,477 towards each student's education. In Norristown Area School District, the 2020-2021 budget is $163,728,295. With roughly 7,491 students, about $21,857 can be contributed towards each student's education.


Norristown Area School District Map, Photo Credit: Norristown Area School District

According to the estimated 2019 population, Norristown's largest populations are: White (42.1%), Black or African American (36.4%), and Hispanic or Latino (27.5%). In Upper Merion they are: White (71.9%), Asian (18.5%), and Black or African American (5.8%). In Norristown, an estimated 21.7% of the population lives below the poverty line. In Upper Merion, an estimated 3.9% of the population live below the poverty line.

Norristown High School has roughly 85% graduation rate. Upper Merion High School has roughly 93% graduation rate. 


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