In This Issue
Take action: File a complaint!
Does new transfer policy violate rights?
A victory on transportation!
Our new sponsor!
Partner with Parents United as a member school! You'll get information and updates and special trainings for parents. Contact us at: parentsunitedphila@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter
Visit our blog

S
ept. 8
First day of school

Sept. 8, 8:30a-3p 
PCCY sponsored event: Letter reading outside Gov. Corbett's office.
 
Sept. 18, 5:30 p.m.
SRC action mtg. Call 215-400-4180 to register to speak.
 
Sept. 22,  8a-5p
PCCY-sponsored School Funding Day in Harrisburg. Call 215-563-5848, x36 for details.
 
Sept. 29, 6 p.m.
SRC policy meeting. No registration required.
In the News

Parents United won our Right to Know case for the second time. The court ruled that the public has a right to review the list of 60 school closings recommended by the Boston Consulting Group. Despite these repeated losses, the District plans to appeal to the Commonwealth Court and continue the delay of this information. We'll keep fighting for transparency. Thanks to our lawyers at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia for their great work! 


Parents United's
 Robin Roberts represented us at a national conference on school nurses this summer in Washington, DC. Advocates for quality nursing care heard stories from around the country about the importance of school nurses. In North Carolina parent won a great victory in passing a policy that mandated a nurse in every school. Read about this and more: Our busy summer!


Parents United's Maurice Jones is featured in this story on Lea Elementary School. Lea is on its third principal in three years. Maurice and others are working for stability. Read about their efforts here
FAST FACTS
 
25 points
Distance between Gov. Tom Corbett and challenger Tom Wolf in the latest poll by Franklin & Marshall. The numbers are "epically bad," says the Washington Post.

70%
Percent of new principal hires this year who have never before held the position of principal.

$9 million
Amount of money the district will save by having fewer cleaning supplies in school this year. Our vote? Make 440 use our kids' bathrooms!

5
Number of bilingual programs in the School District. All are at the elementary Spanish level. The District once had bilingual programs in Khmer, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic.


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What every parent should know   September 2014


You know things are bad in Philadelphia when this headline appears in newspapers from the New York Times  to the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Philadelphia Schools to open on time"

Here's what parents should expect this September:

  • No significant increase in staffing.
  • No significant increase in level of resources and dollars.
  • Almost 400 additional layoffs from last year including 157 special education classroom assistants, 147 noontime aides, dozens of central office staff and 8 assistant principals.
  • 27 elementary schools will lose their full-time school safety officer.
  • Reduced cleaning supplies and services in schools. The district hopes to save $9 million this year in cleaning and other services.
  • One out of every five schools will have a new principal.

Are there any positives to school opening this year? Yes, thanks to the advocacy work of many across the city:

  1. 7,500 high school students won't lose access to free SEPTA transportation (see below).
  2. The District is investing in full-service cafeterias and working to bring fresher food to more schools.
  3. Last year the District opened with 100 split grade classrooms. We ended the year with less than five split grade classes thanks to parent advocacy on this issue. We'll work to ensure split grades are not the norm this year.
  4. We're only a few months away from a gubernatorial election to elect the next governor of PA. Education remains one of the top issues in the state. Let's make sure we vote for a governor who cares about schools and children in November.

Read our Back to School FAQ here


 
Regardless of what's good or bad this year, we know we must be vigilant about our children's schooling. We need to listen carefully to what our children are saying is happening in schools. We need to be pro-active and raise concerns if there are problems, file complaints with the state dept. of education (see below), testify, write letters, and work together to advocate for safe, quality schools for every child. 

 

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, connecting you with legal specialists, and providing training to get your message and stories out.

 

We're forming a new Parents United membership structure so schools can ensure they are fully represented in advocacy efforts. More than ever, we need our voices to come together for children. 

 

INVITE US TO YOUR NEXT HSA MEETING

Email us here

 

Let's make this another year of parent power and change!

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Take Action: FILE A COMPLAINT!
Parents United's Robin Roberts speaks at a conference to announce the reopening of www.myphillyschools.com (Photo: Parents United)



In partnership with Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, Media Mobilizing Project and State Sen. Vincent Hughes, Parents United for Public Education will re-open the MyPhillySchools.com website for parents to file formal complaints with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education about a lack of services and resources that prevents students from receiving a "thorough and efficient" education as promised by the state constitution.

Read what the Pennsylvania code says about our legal rights.

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.

Support PCCY's State Funding day of action on Sept. 22 in Harrisburg: Get more information here.

Contact Parents United for Public Education to schedule a visit or meeting: parentsunitedphila@gmail.com
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Does a new school policy violate your rights?

In May the District passed a new Return to Neighborhood school transfer policy. The policy allows a principal to use their discretion to force students who live out of catchment back to their neighborhood schools based in part on the number of tardinesses, absences, rule infractions and even student grades or performance in school. Parents United for Public Education is currently investigating this policy along with the Education Law Center to address parent and student rights. We believe hundreds of students may have been impacted for this year. 

If you received notice of a school transfer and feel the process was unfair, you must:
  1. Contact the Office of Student Placement immediately to schedule an appointment and write a letter of concern.You have the right to a hearing.
  2. If you are unsatisfied, reach out to us at Parents United and we will connect you with an attorney at the Education Law Center for a preliminary discussion. 
Since this is the first year the policy has been in effect, we are keeping close tabs on the situation. Please contact us at parentsunitedphila@gmail.com for more information.
A victory on transportation
 
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.  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. 

Read more about this victory at our website. 
OUR NEW SPONSOR!
Bread Roses Fund logo

We are honored to have been recognized by the Bread and Roses Community Fund as a grantee this year. Our work will focus on developing new member and partner schools to strengthen the voice of local school communities and parents. Thank you so much to the team at Bread and Roses for believing in us and our work!
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