“These are not budget cuts. These are human rights abuses happening to children in our own city.”

AERA logoThe American Educational Research Association national meeting came to Philadelphia last weekend and Parents United members were featured at a number of events. Parents Robin Roberts, Tonayia Coffer and Tomika Anglin represented Parents United at a special Division K reception hosted by Drexel University at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Sabra Townsend joined a panel of speakers at the EDU4/APPS Philadelphia Town Hall,and co founder Helen Gym was part of the Presidential Session speaker series with Diane Ravitch and at an evening forum and reception sponsored by the Southern Education Foundation.

Our friends at EDU4 – who caught Mark Gleason’s “dumping the losers” comments on audio – highlighted an excerpt of Helen Gym’s remarks at the Southern Education Foundation. You can listen to them here thanks to Thomas Nast and the folks at Co-Opt-Ed. Helen speaks about the stunning drop in resources and a “punishing” approach towards young people which holds them accountable for multiple failures of public responsibility through everything from high stakes testing to school closures to school violence and chaos.

“This is not just [about] budget cuts. . .  This is about human rights abuses that are happening in this city, and you as educators, and you as people who care deeply about this need to go out there and send that message.  . .  I feel like we are in some kind of sick, sick social experiment where we put our children in these abusive situations and we see how they turn out and, when violence and chaos reign, we blame them. To me, that is the definition of racism.”