On Wednesday, April 23rd, a few of the steering committee members of the Caucus of Working Educators sat down for their first meeting with the leadership of the PFT. We presented our platform and asked the leadership what we could do to support the ongoing fight to defend public education in Philadelphia.
The outcome of the meeting was a mutual pledge to work together to strengthen the involvement of the rank and file PFT membership.
In the immediate future, this goal will be achieved through a few specific actions:
- Working to abolish the SRC and regain local control of our school district, specifically by supporting the initiative to put the question to voters through a non-binding ballot question in November.
- Campaigning for a full, fair funding formula in Pennsylvania, specifically a return to the funding levels that were voted on by the PA state legislature under Governor Rendell. This formula would have put Philadelphia’s funding on an equal footing with the rest of the state, but was then reversed by Corbett.
- A concerted push for educators around the city to speak out publicly about how the budget cuts have impacted teaching and learning in every classroom in Philadelphia, specifically by writing opinion pieces and letters and organizing school communities--teachers, parents,and students--to meet with city and state legislators.
The following people were in attendance:
- Kelley Collings, Teacher, Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, Caucus Steering Committee Member
- David Hensel, Taggart Elementary, Caucus Steering Committee Member
- Evette Jones, Community Engagement Coordinator, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
- Jerry Jordan, President, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
- Hillary Linardopoulos, Membership & Community Organizer, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
- Tatiana Olmedo, Counselor, Central High School, Caucus Steering Committee Member
- Larissa Pahomov, Teacher, Science Leadership Academy, Caucus Steering Committee Member
- Dee Phillips, Special Assistant to the President & Vice President Middle Schools, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
- Peggy Savage, Teacher, Richmond Elementary, Caucus Steering Committee Member
We look forward to the next meeting between steering committee members of the Caucus of Working Educators and the leadership of the PFT at the end of May, as well as a long productive working relationship.