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Rallies set for Philly and 60 other cities in National Day of Action

by Naveed Ahsan

Teachers, parents, students, and education activists will gather at 4:30 p.m. today outside Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia office, 200 S. Broad St., as part of the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.

Education advocates will stage actions in more than 60 cities across the country, demanding better schools for America’s children. The day of action was planned by an alliance of teachers' unions and community groups to fight back against what they see as an unprecedented attack on the public school system.

Hundreds are expected to convene outside Corbett’s office, including members of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS), the Rev. Kevin Johnson of Bright Hope Baptist Church, and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan.

After leaving Corbett’s office, protesters will march to Loop Capital Markets, 2 Penn Center. Advocates have said that the Illinois bank has distributed bad loans that have debilitated Philadelphia’s education system and has also been a primary contributor in the privatization of public schools in Chicago.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which led the campaign, said that the national day of action is a “real collective effort between parents, teachers, and clergy members.” She said that even though lack of school funding is the primary issue in the School District of Philadelphia right now, education funding will not be the focal point for each city.

“Although school funding is the thread that binds all the issues together, many cities are taking up their own unique initiatives on Monday,” Weingarten said.

In Georgia, for instance, organizers and educators will contact their legislators on the importance of having a 180-day school calendar, Weingarten said. In Houston, union and community partners will protest calling for an end to an overreliance on tests and for fair teacher evaluations outside school board offices.

Weingarten said that in order for today’s rallies to be successful, parents and educators must not simply protest for the day, but also promote a new vision for their cities’ public education systems.

Naveed Ahsan is an intern at the Notebook.

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Comments (13)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 9, 2013 3:25 pm
As Weingarten stated that in order for today’s rallies to be successful parents and educators must not simply protest for the day, but also promote a new vision for their respective city’s public education system. If only the PFT leaders got that message and had new vision--members would be happy. Instead they use same old ,tired strategies and talking points. Their vision is to claim how wonderful the PFT union is just by showing up at the bargaining table while the SDP successfully chops away at the contract bit by bit,status quo or not. Let's see, no step raises, no seniority, many classes exceed the 33 student limit even after leveling, teachers do all kinds of administrative work-while laid off secretaries are not all called back, new hires are being employed as teachers, counselors, vice principals,and many other laid off members still are waiting to be restored that could fullfil those appointments ,no termination pay if do not give 60 days notice ,(even though that is not written anywhere) in the past the District would just not ever restore you back if requested, deplorable working conditions due to a lack of staff, grievances not executed, etc. etc. Email Jerry Jordan and let's get an update on that status quo contract and how the contract breaches are being dealt with.Doubt you will get a response back, but what the heck ask anyway since the new vision has to start somewhere. jjordan@pft.org Make we can use that phrase they use on the Jerry Springer Show to fire Jerry Jordan up---Jerry ,Jerry, Jerry,Jerry,Jerry,Jerry...
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 9, 2013 4:09 pm
It's hard to believe who's telling the truth anymore but what is true, is that this has nothing to do with educating kids but everything to do with making money. It's class warfare and we better win or we'll be relegated to back in the day standards before unions. ALL workers better open their eyes and not allow the cretins to pit us against one another.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on December 10, 2013 10:47 am
Yes it is hard to tell who is telling the truth these days, isn't it Joe? What ever happened to the good old fashioned values we used to respect --- such as, (1) the role of academic endeavor is a search for truth through credible scientific inquiry; and (2) the role of a free and zealous press is a search for the emergence of truth. Seems like so much of what is said these days is designed to Cloud the Truth.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 10, 2013 1:45 pm
And as you well know, I believe it ALL to be by design to create an Apartheid living arrangement akin to life before those pesky unions who demanded justice and livable wages etc. ALL WORKERS better wake up before it's too late.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on December 10, 2013 2:45 pm
All Citizens better wake up Joe. This runs deeper than just worker rights and the right of all citizens to earn a decent standard of living. It goes to the heart of the rights of citizens in a democracy. We are talking about the rights of all citizens to a free, appropriate, public education. I submit such public education is a necessity for any well functioning democracy to exist.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 10, 2013 2:56 pm
Agreed and the moronic non union workers are being used against their union brethren as torpedoes and they're too bullheaded to see it. Obama can only blame the American Nazi Party, AKA, The Republicans, for so long as he has done zero to help the common man and when you give in to tyranny, you serve it to paraphrase one Tom Jefferson.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 9, 2013 3:36 pm
Disgruntled public sector union workers and their welfare queen supporters with their hands out for more money.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on December 9, 2013 7:52 pm
way to go ignoramus. keep toting that party line.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 9, 2013 8:32 pm
I believe it's toeing the line, genius. And we'll let the people decide if they want ever increasing taxes to fund corrupt public sector unions.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on December 9, 2013 8:27 pm
tote as in you're their water boy carrying their water for them. the powers that be love to see you buying into their greedy union and welfare queen talking points while they back a truck up to the treasury loading dock for a little good ole fashioned corporate welfare.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 9, 2013 9:16 pm
Yeah, whatever. The people of Philly in the last several years have seen two property tax increases, an increase in sales tax, an increase in state income tax, and coming soon the highest gasoline tax in the nation. Despite that, a Dem will win Philly, but we'll see what the rest of the state has to say. Good luck with your pay cuts.
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on December 9, 2013 10:26 pm
You are right. Screwing over the working class is a bipartisan enterprise in our state. Gasoline tax was passed by the republican house, republican senate, and signed by the republican governor. Both parties rely on regressive taxation to protect their wealthy donors, and then use misinformed and bigoted individuals like you to shift the blame on the hard working public sector employees.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 10, 2013 9:53 pm
Jerry, Jerry, Jerry... jjordan@pft.org What a pathetic turnout and tactics used by the useless AFT/PFT leadership .Many do their part in advancing the cause just not the way Jordan and Weingarten do. Stop AFT / PFT officers wasting your energy, time and money on that stuff and get into the court rooms and battle it out. That may be the only thing the state, District and politicians hear. They aren't listening to the rants on the street because of low turnouts since the PFT union can't rally up the troops as the troops don't have that feeling of solidarity due to the treatment you illustrate to your members. AFT is going spend millions on this BS and in the end, unfortunately, you won't see any real gains.Use that money and get the best lawyers in the country and contest these issues in court. This is our money ,via dues, so don't waste it on this uneventful protest.We need that money for effective actions to counteract the District and the working person in general. Listen to your members input-all free advice-and follow their valued information instead of the old, tired, wasteful, worn old strategies AFT/PFT officials are use and trying to implement resulting in dismal numbers at protests. This is mainly because of lack of unity/solidarity within their rank and file on the backs of the union leadership being nonresponsive and obstinate in dealing with concerns on behalf of their members. It's a different time period (even though many AFT and PFT leaders have worked decades at their jobs in the comfort of a union office-very stress free job- unlike their members nowadays) yet insist on dated measures,pretending to fight for their members. Email Jordan and let him know-even though it will go on deaf ears. The PFT leadership is rude, ignornant,weak, inept, all knowing, disrespectful, deficient in common courtesy, not living in reality or within the real world of what goes on in schools or at 440, treat members as if they are unintelligent by shoving votes, motions down their throats or just plain ignoring them.For years and years the PFT and District were bed buddies and just went through the motions.Unfortunately, PFT is as dysfunctional,disorganized and masters at just ignorning members or issues as if they will just go away. Members have to be persistent in notifying Jordan and Weingarten if they want any union representation and /or job security, a fair wage with no cuts (in fact, a raise-yes I said it -a RAISE of at least 2.5% starting Sept. 2014 and no lower than that amount every year for the life of the contract -if a contract is ever agreed upon at all) decent working conditions, and an executed dispute resolution process. Too many of your members are just in survival mode in School District of Philadelphia and what actions have PFT leaders taken? None, aside from sitting at a bargaining table talking about sports, what they all did over the weekend, your families, vacations, etc.and maybe a 5 minute talk about any contract issues. Don't forget red shirt Fridays,hooray,that will really scare the SDP administrators and SRC members into signing a fair contract and getting the District to stop breaching the CBA. Jerry, Jerry, Jerry... jjordan@pft.org

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