Yesterday, nearly a thousand people attended the Rally at 440 North Broad Street joining the efforts of unions and activist groups to Stand Up for Our Schools and save public education in Philadelphia. The rally preceded the School Reform Commission’s meeting to vote on school closures.
Shortly after addressing the crowd Randi Weingarten, President of AFT, was arrested along with 18 others. Weingarten believes the “school closures are a plan to siphon money away from public schools, since the SRC’s plan doesn’t touch charter schools.”
Upon her release Weingarten said, “You use civil disobedience when you have no other choice.” Neither the Mayor nor the School Reform Commission was willing to meet with Weingarten.
The SRC voted to close 23 schools. PFT President Jerry Jordan said that these “school closings disrupt students' lives and disenfranchise our poorest communities … and will do nothing to improve education in Philadelphia.” Jordan pledged the PFT support to “demand that the SRC, school district, mayor and governor reset their priorities from cutbacks and concessions to reinvestment in our public schools.”
From the energy and enthusiasm of protesters to the anger and frustration of parents, school staff, and community members, March 7 has left its mark on public education in the city of Philadelphia.