United For Public Schools

We are organized educators, students, families and community members dreaming, working & fighting for people-powered education reform. Join us!
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By the standards of other schools in District 6, where more than 80 percent of public school students are “free-lunch eligible,” we are rich, and our community, where children of postal carriers learn alongside those of professors, is richly diverse. If our school is suffering, others are surely suffering more. Yet should any public school have to beg on the street for support to teach kids to read, to expose them to art, science and a second language or to help teachers teach more effectively?

The attack on seniority is a canard: Most teachers are in positions that they applied for and were chosen by principals through a process called site selection, which exists at every school. It also should not be forgotten that there are 15,000 dedicated teachers who have shown their commitment to students every day. We pay for supplies as basic as copy paper, notebooks, and pens, and work daily to provide a world-class education.
Philadelphia teacher, parent and taxpayer Liz Taylor rebuts the outside players helping Governor Corbett advance his anti-public school political agenda.

Say you’re a teacher with a diverse and exciting group of students who have found learning together an exciting prospect. You have had ups and downs, but each day has ended with more students feeling positive about their ability to learn, and each day investing more in the process. Then, a couple of weeks into the school year, you have to make the first stop in this process. The first Pearson-created standardized test has landed on your desk.

Teaching/learning has to stop. You hide your face from your students as you grit your teeth. You tell them, as always, not to worry. You tell them no one expects them to get all of the answers right, but you do expect them to do their very best. You know they will, as they will want to show everyone how smart they are, just as they’ve shown you in so many ways. But inside you cringe …

You stand in front of the class and read a sentence to the children. You are allowed to repeat the sentence only once. Then the students select one of four pictures that they think most reflects what the sentence says. The children look determined; they are ready; you begin.

The first question seems harmless enough. The students look okay. Then you get to the second question. Of 106 questions.

Read on to learn about this diverse Pittsburgh class’ experience with a long, culturally-biased standardized test. 

Eighteen Philly-area charters have been under federal investigation in the last few years, says Philadelphia CityPaper columnist Dan Denvir.

So why did so-called “philanthropists” meet behind closed doors to advocate for bringing more charters to Philadelphia? Especially when charters are a disproportionate drain on the district’s already-strained budget?

With a deficit exceeding 100 million dollars, the Philadelphia School District is crumbling. 23 of Philadelphia’s public schools closed in 2013 and over 3,000 employees were laid off. The remaining schools have increased student populations and fewer teachers to teach them. Roxborough High School has said goodbye to several of its beloved teachers and all three of its much-needed fulltime guidance counselors. Despite dwindling resources, overwhelmed faculty and sometimes frustrated students, our Web Design and Cinematography students wanted to produce a video that lets the world hear our students ROAR for their right to a solid education.

"You’re gonna hear me roar!" Students at Philly’s Roxborough High School created this video to show how they’re fighting to overcome the difficulties imposed on them by severe budget cuts. Keep striving, Roxborough High!

From the Media Mobilizing Project:

Public education is under attack. Will we learn to live with a two-tier education system where money comes first, or will we come together to guarantee a quality education for every child and young person?

Our Schools Are Not For Sale is the story of Philadelphia’s teachers, parents, students, and communities who are fighting for public schools that are well-resourced, high-quality and available to all. Watch how local communities are responding to a year of unprecedented attacks, including the closing of 24 schools, layoffs of hundreds of teachers and counselors, and the elimination of school libraries, art, music, and sports programs.

This video is a message to everyone who cares about the future of public schools. Now more than ever, we need to reach out and begin conversations with neighbors, friends, coworkers, and students about how each of us can contribute to the fight for public schools. Contact Media Mobilizing Project to host a community screening today!

What’s that frown about?

The six ways the GOP shutdown will hurt kids, including the impact on children already living in poverty.

See the rest here on BuzzFeed: Six Ways the Republican Forced Shutdown Will Hurt Kids

It is clear to me that even with everyone working at peak capacity, there just aren’t enough people in the building to ensure the safety of our students and staff. The district is negligently underfunding and understaffing our schools which is sure to cause harm. There is no way that the present staffing can keep up this frantic pace.
Philadelphia mother Robin Roberts, on what she witnessed during her week of volunteering in schools hard hit by budget cuts.

It is tempting to look at Lawrence as an exception. But his case points to problems not only with the quality of individual schools in New Orleans, but also with government oversight and the incentive structure of charter schools. “State monitoring has virtually stopped,” says Margaret Lang, who retired last year as director of intervention services at the RSD. “The kids who get churned the most are those with the most disabilities and challenges.”

For investigation beyond the hype about schools in post-Katrina New Orleans, be sure to read this Newsweek article.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor visited West Philly to speak at Freire Charter School, which he cited as as an example of the benefits of charters schools to public school communities. Many saw the irony in a school-choice speech being delivered in a school district in a financial crisis that some blame partly on the proliferation of charters, which in Philly cost the district an estimated $7,000 per student.

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