Coast to coast parent activism: Our busy summer!

As summer winds down, it’s hard to move on from summertime BBQs, family outings, long walks, cheering on our kids’ summer sports and rooting for the Taney Dragons baseball team. Here at Parents United, we mixed family with coast-to-coast parent activism that kept us busier than ever building relationships, learning new strategies and highlighting important struggles in Philly. Continue reading “Coast to coast parent activism: Our busy summer!”

A Victory on School Transportation

According to our research, the anticipated district savings of $3.8 million would have been dwarfed by the $6-7 million a year minimum that families would have to put out – an enormous burden.

Thousands of high school students will continue receiving free SEPTA transpasses thanks to the work of Parents United for Public Education in partnership with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and other individuals.

On Aug. 21st, the School Reform Commission announced that they had withdrawn a proposal to extend the distance requirement from 1.5 to 2.0 miles for free SEPTA transpasses. For September, the distance will remain at 1.5 miles.

Had the proposal been approved, over 7,500 high school students in public, parochial and private schools living within two miles of their school would have lost access to free transpasses. Students would either have to walk up to 4 miles a day roundtrip through unfamiliar neighborhoods or pay hundreds of dollars per child for safe transportation.Continue reading “A Victory on School Transportation”

Smart read of the day: Lisa Haver on why real accountability goes both ways

“The question then is:  Is accountability applicable only to those in the classrooms? Why do we not hold those in leadership positions accountable?  It is the responsibility of the Superintendent and the SRC to make sure that we have a functioning system which meets all of the needs of our students.  It is their responsibility to provide a system in which every school provides not just the books and supplies, but a safe climate in a clean school so that students can learn.

Did our leaders step up and fight for what our students and teachers need?”

Continue reading “Smart read of the day: Lisa Haver on why real accountability goes both ways”

Press Release: Schools will open but are they schools?

(On Friday, Superintendent William Hite, after weeks of speculation, announced that the Philadelphia schools will open on time. He also announced another $30 million in additional proposed cuts. An SRC vote on reducing SEPTA transpasses for high school students will be on Thursday.)

Parents United for Public Education appreciates Superintendent William Hite’s stand to support just funding for Philadelphia’s schools. We believe schools should open – but not at any cost.

As parents, we expect to hear a clear message about educational learning, objectives and investment for our children. We expect the District to open schools with the essential staff and resources needed for an appropriate – as well as safe – learning environment. We did not hear that message Friday.Continue reading “Press Release: Schools will open but are they schools?”

Philly’s own Taney Dragons are THE feel-good story of summer!

Taney Dragons
(Photo: Taney Youth Baseball Association)

There’s plenty of dreadful news going around these days – no question – but today for a few hours, we’ll be celebrating our own feel-good story of summer, the Taney Dragons: Philly’s first Little League team to win the state championship and who will be on ESPN live today at 11 a.m. to vie for a spot in the regional finals.

The Taney Dragons look like the best parts of our city – multiracial, integrated, winning. They reflect our city schools: six of the 12 players are District elementary students from McCall, Meredith, Penn Alexander and Masterman. One student is from World Communications Charter. One of Taney’s stars was the only girl among the PA teams and the team was the most racially diverse in the state.

You’d think that would be even more cause for celebration but along the way, they’ve faced hateful and ignorant racist and sexist attitudes as a result.

The remarks won’t be forgotten but this is a team with heart, spirit and soul. As Masterman student and star batter Jared Sprague-Lott said in today’s Inquirer:

“It’s been a long week, but that’s what we love to do,” said Jared Sprague-Lott, a shortstop and pitcher. “We love to play baseball all the time.”

Thank you Taney Dragons for bringing us the true meaning of sportsmanship, love for a game, and pride for Philly. We’re all rooting for you!