…http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/03/08/betsy-devoss-education-agenda-can-be-overturned-city-shows-how “What Philadelphia’s fight against market-driven school“reform” can teach us about resisting attacks on public education.” By Helen Gym… Helen Gym is a Councilmember At Large from Philadelphia and Vice-Chair of Local Progress, a national network of progressive elected officials.Some quotes and related links from her article:
In 2002, the state of Pennsylvania took over Philadelphia’s public schools, stripping away local control, massively expanding charters, and starving existing public schools of funding and resources. Then, in 2013, thanks to a GOP-led state austerity budget that cut almost a billion dollars from public education, Philadelphia’s state-controlled school system closed down 24 public schools and lost thousands of school staff in the name of cost savings, then expanded thousands of new charter spots at nearly the same cost.
In response, Philadelphians took to the streets and organized. Parents, educators, students, and community members built coalitions among labor, clergy, business, and civic organizations. We fought against an agenda of disinvestment, consolidation, and neglect, and instead pressed forward with a commitment to establishing a baseline level of staffing and resources for every school.
As we prepare to face the DeVos agenda, we will continue to reject narratives of public education rooted in failure and disinvestment, along with the peddling of long-debunked theories about market-driven reform that have been deployed in cities across the country. The strength of our resistance is local—and vast. It starts with the millions of us from Pennsylvania to Nebraska to California, and every state in between—who called, faxed, visited, and tweeted at our senators to vote against an astonishingly bad nomination. We rose up in unison to defend this democratic ideal of public education.
If the Philadelphia experience is any measure, this uprising won’t just be limited to our schools. It will form the basis of a movement which will not only withstand an authoritarian federal agenda but will also grow more unified in spite of it.
“And while the challenges remain large, we’ve shown that the march of privatization and vouchers is far from inevitable, and that we the people still have the power to imagine and work toward a far better world.”
This article was produced in partnership with Local Progress, a network of progressive local elected officials, to highlight some of the bold efforts unfolding in cities across the country.