Photo: Fight for Philly via Twitter
In This Issue
Back to School resources
Quote of the Day
Safety First
TONIGHT! Sept. 5, 5 p.m.
Know Your Rights with Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
United Way Bldg, 17th & Parkway, Center City
Sept. 9: First day of school
Sept. 10, 2 p.m.
House Education Committee hearing on K-12 education and funding, Franklin Institute
Sept. 17, 12:15 p.m.
PICA Board mtg. to approve 5 year plan for City
Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Diane Ravitch speaks at Free Library of Philadelphia
Sept. 19, 5:30 p.m.
SRC meeting 
Sept. 23, 11:30 a.m.
Harrisburg rally for a fair ed funding formula

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Did you know?

A new poll shows that 80% of Pennsylvanians DON'T believe Gov. Corbett deserves a second term.  His worst poll rating are in public education where a plurality give him an "F".
Parents United's Rebecca Poyourow, Sabra Townsend and Tomika Anglin were featured in Associated Press story on the opening of school.
A Philadelphia guidance counselor made it to the main stage of the Made In America Festival thanks to Public Enemy. Heather Marcus launched a Twitter campaign to get artists to donate to Philly schools. Chuck D responded with a $2,000 contribution and a warning to the Governor to stop closing the [bleep]ing schools and support Philly public!

 The state's share of funding for public ed has declined from 55% in 1975 to 31% today, one of the lowest in the nation.
Parents United co-founder Helen Gym was a commenter for the 2013 Gallup poll on education, which showed overwhelming support for public education. Read Helen's comments here.
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BACK TO SCHOOL                   September 2013

Listening to  Superintendent William Hite on Radio Times recently was a harsh wake up call. He said he only has the resources to open  "functional types of schools":

"On September 9th, we will expect 134,000 young people to return to schools, and when they return to school, they will find very different schools. Now I don't want anyone to get me wrong. We will be ready for those young people to return. However, schools will not have the same number of individuals that were there. . .  Some of the resources that we typically expect in schools will not be there."

News has started to leak out about what exactly this means. Consider:

  • No clear safety plans for school opening
  • Overcrowded and split grade classes
  • NO full-time guidance counselors in 60% of all schools and 50% of all high schools
  • One guidance counselor for schools over 600 students
  • A roving counseling unit to handle special education emergencies
  • One nurse per 1500 students
  • ZERO full time librarians
  • Minimal administrative support
  • Insufficient or zero dollars for books and supplies

The stories confirm what we already know. It was wrong for Supt. Hite to back down on the $180 million he demanded of the city and state last spring. Last year's staffing was far from adequate. This year's is worse. $50 million isn't enough to open school. It's not nearly enough to educate children.


Read Helen Gym's summary of the meeting here:

Back to school: It's so much worse than you think


What's shocking is how few parents know what schools will look like next week. A meeting with Supt Hite this week lasted less than 30 minutes and parents were told to write down questions and they would get emailed answers. 


Parents United for Public Education is working to get information out to all parents. We have FAQs and flyers ready for your next HSA meeting and Back to School event. We're helping parents get their concerns addressed by scheduling workshops with legal specialists and elected officials. 


Teacher David Hensel talked about how the District's practices are driving away teachers - but he could have as easily been talking about parents. Either way, he summed it up best:

"This isn't reform. This is destruction."

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NEW RESOURCE: Back to school
Photo: Inquirer

Find our latest resource "Back to School: What every parent needs to know" at our website. Download FAQs, action flyers and contact Parents United for your next HSA meeting, Back to School event, or parent meeting.

Share this action flyer to demand the state release $45 million in federal money due to us.

Contact Parents United for Public Education to schedule a visit or meeting:
Quote of the Day
Photo: Barbara Dowdall
Retired teacher Barbara Dowdall's poignant sign at the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which she attended 50 years ago as a teenager:
Philadelphia, Mississippi 1963: 
No black children allowed in libraries. 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2013: 
No school libraries.
What about "Safety First?"
"How long does it take to get anything done concerning the most important issue facing school closings - school safety?" - Maurice Jones, parent, Lea Elementary
School safety is THE number one issue of every parent in the District but you wouldn't know that from the start of school this year. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed an unprecedented 50 schools in the city, but announced in June that he would be planning safe passage corridors with police and spent $15 million to hire 1200 workers to monitor routes for children on opening day. This is not to praise the Chicago Mayor but to acknowledge he set a minimum standard of preparation.
Not in Philadelphia. Despite unprecedented school closings locally, to date, the District has only posted recommended walking routes. Earlier this week, SEPTA distributed a list of bus and trolley lines that students from a closing school could choose from to travel to their new school. Parent Maurice Jones made numerous requests for defined safety plans for children as young as five years old walking up to 2 miles in unfamiliar neighborhoods to go from Wilson (closing) to Lea Elementary. 
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