An Open Letter in Support of WE, from PFT Retirees

The below letter was written by the Caucus of Working Educators' Retiree Organizing Committee in support of WE in the upcoming PFT Election. Want to add you name? Email us at contact@workingeducators.org.

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Dear Fellow PFT Retirees,

No doubt our experiences teaching in the Philadelphia School District have varied greatly. Our role and involvement in our union were likely just as varied. Yet we can all agree that the protections given us by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers were essential and allowed us to have a career in teaching, leading to a comfortable retirement.

The attacks on our schools by the forces of austerity are placing that security in jeopardy for our colleagues in the classroom now. The PFT is half the size it once was. Staff and student rights, support services, protections and supplies are all disappearing- or already gone.

Who would have thought that historic institutions like Olney, Germantown, William Penn and Bok High Schools would be closed? So many jobs have been lost, we cannot sit by and let the critical work of educating our children become a "little while beginner job" in charters, instead of the lifetime vocation for certified professionals that we chose for ourselves.

How did this happen? The PFT has forgotten that our power comes from our own organized members and the communities we serve, rather than relying on politicians for political favors. We cannot help but notice that a union of 11,000 has not mobilized more than a few hundreds of members into action. Our union needs to be energized. The PFT needs to have a real discussion. There needs to be a real election campaign. We need a new leadership.

Chicago is not the only place fresh winds are blowing in urban public education. Over the last few years some of us in retirement have met the leading professionals in the Working Educators Caucus. We are impressed by them. We might even be a little envious that more energetic union folks like this weren't around in our day, and would like to get behind them. They know the PFT can and will lead the fight for public education. They deserve our support in this critical election.

The Caucus of Working Educators needs the support of retired educators in many ways, from donating funds to speaking to our former colleagues who are still in the field:

Now is the time for a newly revitalized PFT that can fight for our schools, students, and profession. We look forward to joining you in supporting the Caucus of Working Educators.

In Solidarity,

 

Sam Mastriano, Retired Teacher, 31 years

Shoemaker MS, Bok HS, Germantown HS, William Penn HS, Olney HS, Swenson HS, South Philly HS

 

Diane Payne, Retired Teacher, 23 years

Mayfair, William D Kelley, Prince Hall

 

Harvey Chanin, Retired Teacher and Counselor

Wister, Disston, Bethune, Kearny

 

Betsy Wice, Retired Teacher, 40 years

Frederick Douglass, South Philadelphia HS, West Philadelphia HS, O.V. Catto School

 

Dina Portnoy, Retired Teacher, 29 years

Kelley, Olney HS, University City HS, Northeast HS

 

Debbie Bambino, Retired Teacher

George Washington, CEMS/FSAS, Lowell

 

Wilma de Soto, Retired ESOL Teacher, 36 years

Francis Scott Key

 

Lynne Yermanock Strieb, Retired Teacher, 31 years

John B. Kelly, Lingelbach, Greenfield

 

Mindy Noble, Retired Teacher, 18 years

Germantown HS, Parkway NW

 

Sharon Newman Ehrlich, Retired Teacher, 27 years

Stetson MS, Edison HS, Randolph HS

 

Kenneth Schamberg, Retired Teacher, 23 years

Sayre MS, Leeds MS, Conwell MS, Stetson MS, Germantown HS, Central HS, Olney HS

 

Madeleine Nist, Retired Teacher

Samuel Fels HS

 

Robert Schwier, Retired Teacher, 30 years

Bartram HS, Edison HS

 

Mirta B Scheffer, Retired Teacher, 22 years

CEMS, FSAS

 

Lesly Eckstein, Retired Teachers, 23 years

Edison, Barton, FSAS, CEMS

 

Christine Martin, Retired Certified School Nurse, 23 years

Stoddart Fleischer, Constitution

 

Isabell Cardonick, Retired Teacher, 34 years

Mayfair, Disston, Vaux Jr. H., Nebinger, Morrison, M.H. Stanton

 

Anne Tenaglia, Retired Teacher, 37 years

Penrose, Longstreth, Blankenburg