August 15, 2013 1:44 pm

Philly Parents Prepare to Boycott Schools

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96Parents Present an Ultimatum: Fund Schools or Kids won’t Go

Parents in Philadelphia have received a lot of bad news this summer.

In June, officials announced that they were closing 23 schools to help close a $304 million budget deficit. To add insult to injury, this news came at a time that the government announced it was putting aside $400 million to build a prison (talk about the school-to-prison pipeline!).

Then, education officials laid off more 3,700 teachers, counselors, secretaries, and other school staff. To add insult to injury again, the district is now posting wanted ads online for these same positions, advertising many of the formerly union positions as now nonunion.

Now, the government says that it will provide $45 million of assistance in the form of a grant to the city’s school district. Many people agree that this is nowhere near enough money required to run a successful school district, especially one of a city such as Philadelphia. To add insult to injury yet again, receiving the $45 million grant is contingent upon the teachers’ unions making concessions. After losing your job to be replaced by a non-unionized worker, what concessions can possibly be left to make?

Insult after insult and injury after injury, parents have had enough. Over 100 parents attended a town hall meeting this week sponsored by the group Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower & Build (POWER). At the meeting, Bishop Dwayne Royster, Executive Director of POWER, called for outraged parents to boycott Philly’s schools unless politicians find a way to add $180 million to the education budget by the first day of school, September 9th. This is in addition to the protests that activists and students have been involved in to get the baseline $45 million grant in the first place.

Whether the District will start to feel the pressure of protests and parents’ ultimatum is still unknown, but the chance of results increases with every activist, parent, student, and community member who joins the fight. We encourage everyone to help support Philly parents and protestors in this microcosmic battle in the fight to save our schools. For more info, please read today’s NPE News Brief ‘How bad is Philly Crisis? This bad.