For the third consecutive year, the District is facing a massive budget shortfall, prompting a scramble to find the funds needed to save school basics like music, guidance counselors, and secretaries.
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
Philadelphia School District students are furious that they may have to endure even more cuts after they've already lost several nurses, central office staff members and a beloved annual musical at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts.
A group of roughly 250 students marched to the District's headquarters at 440 N. Broad St., where they held their own sort of musical on Tuesday afternoon to protest what some have called next year's "doomsday budget."
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.
It's been a busy last week for communities protesting the District's plan to close 29 schools and rallying to save their own schools. At Carroll High School on Wednesday, Feb. 27, students and members of the student-led Youth United for Change joined hands to form a human chain around their school to protest its proposed closure. That same day, ACTION United and PCAPS organized three separate marches in opposition to the District's plan. More rallies followed the next day at Vare Elementary and Beeber Middle School, both of which are slated to close.
Here are photos from the protest at Carroll, organized by YUC, and the JUNTOS-led rally at Vare Elementary.
Photo credit: all photos by Harvey Finkle
by Charlotte Pope
Dressed in uniform, students of the military academies at Leeds and Elverson came to District headquarters Tuesday to hear alternative proposals to the planned relocation of both schools.
They joined parents, teachers and community members -- about 40 attendees in all -- at the meeting, the fourth of an additional six sessions that the District scheduled this month to focus on individual schools or groups of schools slated for closure or relocation.
The District has proposed to move Elverson and Leeds to the Roosevelt Middle School building, combining them to create Philadelphia Military Academy High School.
The School Reform Commission will hold a series of public hearings over three days to hear testimony on the proposed school closures before the commission votes March 7. The meetings will take place Feb. 21, Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. All hearings will be held in the auditorium at the School District of Philadelphia headquarters, 440 N. Broad St., and will be divided up according to District planning area.
Those who want to testify must pre-register by calling the Office of Parent, Community & Family Engagement at 215-400-4180. Pre-registration runs from 9 a.m. Feb. 19 through noon Feb. 21. No more than 10 speakers will be permitted to testify about each school that is slated to close, and the guidelines as outlined in the District’s speaker policy for SRC public meetings will apply to the hearings.
The dates and times of the hearings are listed below:
by Charlotte Pope
Under a gloomy gray sky, members of Philadelphia Student Union (PSU), many dressed in torn clothing and with grimly painted faces, gathered Tuesday afternoon on the steps of the District building, 440 N. Broad St., to protest the proposed closure of 37 schools.
The PSU members staged a creative demonstration called “Student Apocalypse: A Brainless Future,” a performance that took the form of a dancing zombie flash mob.
The students held coffins and signs with phrases like “Fund our schools, fund our future,” and chanted “No education, no life” before breaking into the famed Michael Jackson dance routine from the video “Thriller.”
Este otoño los defensores de la educación trabajaron para asegurar que se tomara en cuenta la opinión de la comunidad en la discusión sobre el futuro de las escuelas de Filadelfia: la Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) llevó a cabo dos foros y circuló una encuesta dirigida a padres, educadores, estudiantes y otros que apoyan la educación pública.
Education advocates worked this fall to ensure a community voice in the discussion about the future of Philadelphia schools: The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) sought input through two forums and a survey aimed at parents, educators, students, and other public education supporters.
In June the Obama administration implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, giving certain undocumented youth a chance to receive deportation protection and a two-year U.S. work permit. Now, JUNTOS, a community organization that supports and encourages immigrants in Philadelphia, is helping students to obtain Deferred Action status.