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Randi Weingarten to speak Tuesday at YUC awards ceremony

By Wendy Harris on May 6, 2013 02:43 PM

Youth United for Change will hold its 22nd annual award ceremony and reception on Tuesday, May 7. The theme for this year’s event is “Defending Public Education.” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten will be the keynote speaker.

As a union leader, Weingarten has advocated for partnerships with parents and students around reforms that improve public school education nationwide. In March, she joined hundreds of teachers, students, parents, and other public school advocates outside District headquarters in Philadelphia to protest mass school closings. She later was arrested, along with 18 other protesters, after an organized attempt to block School Reform Commission members from entering a meeting to vote on which schools would be shuttered.

Weingarten has also provided support to the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools. At the ceremony, YUC will present the “Partners in Change” award to the coalition for its work, which has included developing a Philadelphia Student Bill of Rights that calls for a quality education for all children and outlines research-based, practical solutions to the challenges facing public schools. The organization will also be honored for its community education plan, Excellent Schools for All Children, which demands restorative practices, student-centered instruction and curriculum, and greater voice for students and parents.

The ceremony will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, marking the 10th anniversary of YUC’s efforts in campaigning for a new building for the school.

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Comments (12)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2013 7:50 am
You are honoring the person who sold out the Newark teachers in helping Governor Christie push through a teacher evaluation scheme in Newark the same way she did with merit pay in Washington D.C. when Michelle Rhee was Chancellor? http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2013/04/randi-sellout-tour-coming-to-f... No wonder the fight against privatization is so anemic in Philadelphia!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2013 9:50 am
I agree. With friends like Randi, who needs enemies?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2013 11:56 am
Is the PFT bought off as well ? It sure seems that way. They have allowed the situation to fester so badly that it makes you wonder if their interests are different from those they represent.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2013 11:48 am
Hopefully, the membership will step up where the leadership has failed. Solidarity.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on May 7, 2013 12:45 pm
Yes, it does seem curious that The PFT under Jordan, has done almost nothing of consequence to frame our side of the argument. Weingarten is a questionable union leader, I agree there too. This is a very dangerous time for all union workers, not just the PFT and we all better be scared and get to ACTION BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. Solidarity--YES, Complacency--No. Jerry, any thoughts???????
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on May 7, 2013 2:15 pm
Members are beyond apathetic. People don't really want to fight, if they did, the meeting at Girls High in March would have been so flooded with people that the PFT would have had to reschedule the meeting. Our members are not showing up in force. All we really need is a few gatherings with over 3/4 of the membership showing up and I think the conversation might turn a little. Get all 15,000 plus members to show up for something, anything and everyone will realize we mean business. Chicago was able to make things change because people showed up and pounded the pavement. I hear a lot of belly-aching from staff members but no one willing to give up their time to fight for their job. We had a short spark of passion after the original proposal came down but now people are comfortable again, they figure the fighting won't need to occur until September after the contract expires, but then it will be too late! We will lose so much and once we lose it, I don't know if we will ever be able to get it back. We need to bombard our council members, state reps, state senators and even federal reps with letters and phone calls about our daily experiences. Things in Philadelphia are chaotic and if we don't do something serious things will end up with people getting hurt in more ways than one come September.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2013 2:04 pm
I agree Christa. But so many members are naively expecting the PFT leadership to "show leadership". Knowing that this will not appear to happen under the current leader, it is imperative for the rank and file to get up to speed about the reality of the situation and "grab our own oxygen masks." The most important thing that needs to be done as I see it, is to educate the public. The corporate reformers are working 24/7 selling a story that simply is not true. We need to speak the truth loudly, boldly, incessantly until the entire city recognizes the price we all will pay if we lose this battle. PUBLIC SCHOOLS MATTER HUGELY THEY MATTER WHETHER YOUR CHILDREN ATTEND THEM OR NOT THEY ARE AT THE ROOT OF A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
Submitted by Jack (not verified) on May 7, 2013 2:10 pm
Christa; You make a good point. I think part of the issue may be the number of teachers who are deciding to throw in the towel and retire or resign rather than go through the chaos that will be the 2013-2014 school year...not to mention the upcoming contract which I think we can all envision ending up in court when the PSD tries to impose terms on the union. The lack of a message framing the argument about the funding issue is hurting the union. The bulls eye is squarely on the union and groups are lining up to take their shots. You are correct in that the union needs to get its message out by any and all means possible. Unfortunately, it may be too late. I keep hearing that teachers are leaving especially in the Northeast but no one can give any numbers. Let's face it, if you have 25-30 years and you are eligible to retire, would you stay? The union has no idea and the district won't give those numbers out because it weakens their negotiating position.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on May 7, 2013 7:15 pm
Christa----People who still think Jerry Jordan is playing possum, are pathetically wrong. He is actually playing mouse which is destructive for the PFT. Doing nothing speaks volumes about him and by extension, all of us. The real question now is, "Is he complicit in our demise?"
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on May 7, 2013 9:49 pm
I venture to say that yes he is. He has been awfully close to Randi lately and I don't think it is for the good of the children of Philadelphia. Randi Weingarten is not quite the true champion for public education everyone makes her out to be. She contributed to efforts and policies that helped charter schools proliferate. She has given her blessing to things that I don't think a true Union President would give blessings to.But I digress. I am still boggled as to how Jerry Jordan won another stint as our Union prez....one day we received a notice for nominations for prez and exec board and about a week later we learned that he won again, UNOPPOSED??!! I will not lie and say that I am sure that I will be around to stick it out and fight. I drive 1 hour every day to and from my school and it is taking a toll on me and my family. I have it in me to fight and fight hard but I don't feel like I can trust my colleagues to stand with me. There are so many small battles that we all should be fighting within our individual schools that we refuse to fight for fear of reprisal....how do we change the thinking of our membership?? How do we get people to realize that if we stand together, truly stand together and fight that we can be union strong? There has not been any solidarity...We need a dose of history to remind people what can happen when solidarity reigns and people fight back no matter what the cost because in the long run it will be worth it. I also think that people are tired. Members are beaten down and feel powerless to stop anything that happens with the District. I know that most members are combating incompetent principals so fighting for a contract is not top of their list right now. So many problems and so little time to address all of them before the clock runs out.
Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on May 7, 2013 9:11 pm
Christa, I am so sorry to hear your struggle, but as a mom (and now a teacher myself) I want to thank you for your efforts to educate children like my son. Keep up the fight, the kids deserve no less.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 8, 2013 11:04 pm
HELLO, MARK MY WORDS, THE PFT SHOWS ABSOLUTELY NO LEADERSHIP AND ALL ABOUT INACTION.THERE WILL BE SO MUCH TURMOIL, FOR THAT REASON, THIS CONTRACT YEAR. NAMELY,jERRY JORDAN, AS WELL AS MOST OF THE PFT EXECUTIVE BOARD OFFICIALS AND REPRESENTATIVES ARE AWFUL, DISCOURTEOUS,UNCARING,ACT SPINLESS,IMCOMPTENENT,BEEN THERE WAY TOO LONG, NON - TRANSPARENT, DO NOT COMMUNICATE WITH MEMBERS OR EVEN BLDG. REPS., HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE TEACHING IN PHILA. SCHOOLS NOWADAYS ( MOST HAVEN'T BEEN IN A CLASSROOM FOR MANY YRS.), INABILITY TO RESOLVE ISSUES,DECLINES TO TAKEALMOST ALL CASES TO AN ENTITLED HEARING OR ARBITRATION, REFUSES TO PURSUE MOST GRIEVANCES OR CORRECT MANY, MANY ISSUES PENDING AND CONTINUED THAT TACTIC OF INACTION FOR SUCH A LONG TIME (OR AT LEAST SINCE JORDAN WAS PRESIDENT). THAT IS WHY THERE ARE SO MANY ISSUES, CONCERNS BETWEEN THE DISTRICT AND PFT CURRENTLY,THAT COULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED LONG AGO.THE PFT SITS AND SAT THERE AND LET THE CONCERNS FLOURISH AND FESTER. OVERALL, THE PFT HAS NO ACCOUNTABILITY OR INTEREST IN ITS MEMBERS. THE AFT NATIONAL, AND AFT,PA. IS JUST AS BAD. NO ONE WANTS TO DO ANYTHING AT ANY LEVEL, BUT PASS THE BUCK. NO WONDER THE MEMBERSHIP IS SO APATHETIC TOWARDS THE PFT AND AFT LEADERSHIP. THEY ALL NEED TO RESIGN AND MEMBERS ACTUALLY VOTE (INSTEAD OF A SHAME ELECTION)FOR SOME NEW LEADERSHIP THAT HAS SOME COURAGE,SPUNK,STRATEGY AND ACTUALLY WORK FOR MEMBERS. WITH THE PRESENT LEADERSHIP THE PFT MEMBERS ARE DOOMED. JORDAN HAS NO PLAN OR ANYTHING UP HIS SLEEVE ,FOR THE IMPENDING CONTRACT OR CONTINUED SCHOOL CLOSINGS, ETC ETC ETC.

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