Sometimes this is what it means to be a Philadelphia public school parent. It’s not enough that we take care of our children and our families, our personal and professional lives, and volunteer and support our schools. It means that in times of crisis, we pick up the mantle of democracy and set the priorities straight for our elected and appointed officials. That time is now.
A stunning budget crisis of unimaginable proportions and a District and city and state misled by all the wrong priorities has us facing down perhaps the most significant challenge to public education we’ve seen in the 12 years of a state takeover that once promised Philadelphia parents the world. Every single school in this city, from the most struggling to our most elite magnet school, has been impacted by a devastating budget decision that has stripped away the most fundamental elements of schooling: No sports, arts or music. No counselors, librarians, assistant principals, deans, or secretaries. No allotment for books and supplies.
This is why Parents United for Public Education created an Action Toolkit to help parents get organized and politicized around our schools. We are focused specifically on the city and on major structural funding efforts to help stabilize and re-invest in schools. We are also helping connect parents with statewide efforts to improve the education budget.
WHAT’S IN THE ACTION TOOLKIT?
Whether you’re starting out with 5, 15, or 50 parents, every voice makes a difference right now. Our Action Toolkit gets you started in the following ways:
- Get started with our downloadable PDF: ParentsUnited-What You Can Do.
- Build your local school network: Form a phone tree, connect with other parents and teachers, build a visible presence for your school.
- Target your local elected officials: City Council, the Mayor’s office, state representatives. Each one has a grave responsibility to fix this situation. They hear everyday from specialized interests who DON’T want them to make tough decisions on our schools. They need to hear from PARENTS as an important and vocal constituency demanding that they support District-managed public education.
- A basic funding plan for the City: We need major structural funding stability from the city. It’s a critical buffer in a state where Philadelphia is subjected to the whims of the reigning political party. We’re concerned that city investment in schools has declined even after two consecutive property tax hikes. That’s why we currently recommend supporting the Sanchez Use & Occupancy bill instead of the Mayor’s plan for state-approval-required sin taxes on liquor and cigarettes. We need a school funding guarantee from our city leaders.
- A strategy for building statewide outreach and support for state funding for public education.