Pennsylvania’s commitment to public education goes back to 1824 when a law called for establishing schools in which all children should be admitted and taught without regard to social or financial status. That law was voluntary, and few localities could afford that investment on their own.
It was not until Governor George Wolf, a progressive Democrat, called for a state-funded school system that things began to happen. In the 1833-34 legislative session, a joint committee explored the subject and passed the Free School Act with strong bipartisan support.
It was not long before citizens discovered that providing education for all would not be easy or cheap. The threat of new taxes cased a mutiny in the very next session. The House was flooded with petitions