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 since the 2001 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 basic staff, resources and supplies.
Every school year brings hope and potential – and more opportunities for communities to become better involved. That’s why Parents United for Public Education created this Back to School Toolkit for your next HSA or community meeting or Back to School night.
WHAT’S IN THE TOOLKIT?
- A Back to School FAQ: What’s going on in the schools? Use our quick FAQ handout for parents on the latest in Harrisburg and school funding.
- File a formal complaint with the PA Dept. of Education: This campaign gets parents, staff, students and community members to document insufficiencies in our schools and to demand that the PA Dept. of Education investigate.
- What’s this complaint process all about? Use our FAQ:File a complaint as a handout for parents.
- Organizing your school: Find data resources, target your legislators, form a phone tree, connect with other parents and teachers, and get started on building a visible parent voice 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 proportional city investment in schools has declined even after two consecutive property tax hikes. We need a school funding guarantee from our city leaders.
- Voter registration: Because November is our chance to vote in a governor who prioritizes public education. Ask us for voter registration forms. Deadline for the November gubernatorial election is October 3.