All over Philadelphia today, educators, parents, and public education supporters are on the ballot running for local committee person positions. These positions help run elections, turn out neighbors to vote, and endorse candidates- but they often go unfilled. We vote for Committee Person every four years, and this year is one of them!
Over the last year (and more), the Caucus of Working Educators has worked alongside other organizations in the Democratize Philly Coalition to encourage and supported public education educators, parents, and supporters to run for these important local positions.
“Educators like me are getting involved in all levels of government to ensure fair and full funding for all Philadelphia public schools, and a moratorium on budget-draining charter school expansion,” explains Dan Symonds, a teacher running in South Philadelphia. “It's our turn to make decisions about the schools we all rely on." (Philadelphia Weekly)
Is there an educator or public education supporter on your ballot? Check out out list below! (This is a growing list- check back later for updates. If we missed you, please let us know ASAP!)Read more
The Caucus of Working Educators is pleased to endorse the following candidates for election on May 15th:
JOHN FETTERMAN (Lt. Governor)
KEVIN JOHNSON (3rd Congressional District)
RICH LAZER (5th Congressional District)
MIKE O’BRIEN (175th Pennsylvania House District)
ALEX DEERING (181st Pennsylvania House District)
ELIZABETH FIEDLER (184th Pennsylvania House District)
JAMES ROEBUCK (188th Pennsylvania House District)
These candidates have shown that they are not only staunch public school advocates, but are also committed to the labor movement, full funding for our schools, and societal reforms that promote social and racial justice.
WE’s Political Committee held two open Meet-the-Candidates events where all PFT members and our allies were able to conduct interviews with potential endorsees. Candidates also submitted detailed questionnaires, which can be viewed by clicking here or the links above. Finally, the Political Committee made suggestions to the WE Caucus’ Steering Committee, who voted on those final endorsement recommendations.
The Caucus of Working Educators encourages our members and allies to help elect these candidates into office. We look forward to working with them in order to ensure our shared goals are well represented both in Washington and Harrisburg.
We need as many of our allies to help volunteer get these candidates elected through phone banking, canvassing, etc. Please reach out the current WE Political Secretary, George Bezanis, at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how!
Last Friday, Working Educators' Political Committee hosted the first of two "Meet the Candidates" Happy Hours. Primary Candidates from across the city were invited to come talk with educators and community members- and face the tough questions about how they will fight for our schools and communities.
Do you want a chance to talk to politicians one-on-one about the needs of Philly's public schools? This Friday, April 20th you'll have another opportunity!
All PFT Members, WE Members, and WE Supporting Members are welcome to participate in the interviews- especially if you live in the candidate's district...
Friday, April 20th 2018 / 4-6pm
St. Stephen's Green
1701 Green St, Philadelphia PA 19130
Candidates RSVP'd for this Friday: Brendan Boyle, Kevin Johnson, Michael Doyle, Malcolm Kenyatta, Alex Deering, JR Rowan, Tom Wyatt, Jeff Curry, Jim Roebuck, Mike O'Brien's Chief of Staff Mary Issacson
Candidates who attended last week's event: Michele Lawrence, Richie Lazer, Larry Arata, Nina Ahmad, Joe Hohenstein, Sean Kilkenny, Lewis Thomas, Gilberto Gonzalez, and Elizabeth Fiedler.
Want to get involved in political organizing or planning more events like this? Email email@example.com to join WE's Political Committee. All PFT Members and WE members are welcome to join.
The Political Committee of the Caucus of Working Educators will be embarking upon its endorsement process for the upcoming May 2018 Primary Elections.
All members of the Caucus and PFT are welcome to participate in the process and sit on the interview committees, especially if they live in a candidate's respective district, in an effort to keep everything as transparent as possible.
Our two Meet-the-Candidate interview events are scheduled for April 13th and 20th (Fridays) from 4pm to 6pm at St. Stephen's Green (1701 Green St.), so please plan on attending! All are welcome!
All interested candidates should complete one of the questionnaires below (click link for survey) and RSVP for one of the dates above:Read more
Are you from outside Philadelphia County?
We need you to join the statewide movement to make sure our schools have all the money they need and to keep our local schools under our own local control.
The only way we will win full funding and local control for all of our schools is when we build a coalition of advocates across the state. As Pennsylvanians, it’s the politicians in Harrisburg who decide our children’s future. When it comes to funding, high-stakes testing, graduation requirements, teacher quality, special education, arts, music, class size, career and technical education, we are all in this together.
Working Educators will do whatever it takes to create top-notch public schools statewide, and we believe that students, families, and educators deserve far more funding, support, and opportunities than are currently provided.
What’s the big deal about schools in Pennsylvania?
Public schools in PA are criminally underfunded and under the control of anti-student politicians. Harrisburg’s neglect of PA public schools is a national embarrassment.
Pennsylvania is ranked 49th in the country when it comes to state funding for schools. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have denied students in all counties their basic right to fully-funded schools, and allowed outside companies to come into our districts and take over our public schools. Because the state refuses to pay its fair share for public schools, homeowners in PA pay more and more in local property taxes every year. The state wants us to be responsible for fully funding our own local schools, but then wants to take away our say in what happens in our own local school districts. How is that fair?
How can we fix PA schools?
Plain and simple: the PA legislature must pass legislation that guarantees full funding and genuine local control for every district in the state.
If we move just a fraction of the taxpayer money that currently pays for corporate taxbreaks and kickbacks to the 1%, Pennsylvania schools could be fully funded, providing all students with the education they deserve. We are ready to solve the Keystone educational crisis--and to push out any politician who stands in our way. There’s no time to lose.
Why should I care?
Because you love your family, your neighbors, and your public schools!
Our movement for fully funded and locally-controlled schools is non-partisan and all-policy. Strong schools help build strong economies, for everyone. A system of funded public schools is the backbone of a functional democracy that works for all. And we will win this fight--if good people like you step up and join us.
Mayor Kenney is scheduled to release his budget on Thursday morning. While our schools continue to be drastically underfunded and understaffed, the educators of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have gone without a contract since 2013-- including 5 years without raises for cost-of-living, years of experience, or advanced degrees. Students' opportunities to explore arts, music, and many extracurriculars continue to wither, and parents are forced to find new ways to give time and money to support their children's education.
Through all of this, Philly's educators and parents continue to scrape together what little we have to buy supplies and support our chronically underfunded schools so our city’s most vulnerable children do not continue to suffer because of the inaction of our political leaders.
Mayor Kenney promised significant increases in funding for public education during his campaign, but has yet to deliver.
As he prepares to issue his second annual budget proposal to City Council this Thursday morning, those of us who have sacrificed for far too long are asking the mayor to live up to his campaign promises. It’s time to put words into action.
Call Mayor Kenney today and demand that he fully fund our schools in Thursday's budget proposal. Use the following phone script and make your voice heard:
The Caucus of Working Educators recognizes the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as an unparalleled attack on public education. Her lack of qualifications -- or basic understanding of the position -- is widely recognized, and it is clear that she would never have been appointed were she not rich, white, and well-connected.
Simply stated, DeVos does not believe in public education. Her support for “choice” is a sham that masks the actual consequences of her agenda: the large-scale dismantling of America’s promise to provide education to all its children. As Arne Duncan showed with Race to the Top, the Secretary of Education has wide abilities to shape education policy even in areas that are supposedly left up to states. Even if she is not successful in implementing some of her more dangerous ideas, the Secretary will cause irreversible harm to students by failing to protect them from civil rights violations, neglect of legally mandated services, sexual assault, and more.
We are heartened by the show of solidarity against DeVos from across the political spectrum. The unprecedented opposition shows that the public understands that the stakes here are dire. But, while we are proud to protest this cabinet pick alongside 50 senators and hundreds of thousands of protesters, we cannot ignore a fundamental truth: DeVos is not an anomaly, but the result of a decade-long assault on public education.
We cannot forget that many of the same senators who voted against DeVos have also eagerly endorsed some of her policies. Education “reformers,” Democrats and Republicans alike, have championed anti-public school and anti-union actions disguised as “choice.” Celebrity pundits and policy hucksters have sold much of the country on the idea that public schools -- the backbone of our nation, which DeVos derides as “government schools” -- are irrevocably broken.
These ideas are not just misguided, they are actively harmful to schools, cities, and most importantly children. The policies they promote are a drain on public education, driving defunding, segregation, and disempowerment of communities.
Strong unions should be a firewall against a DeVos, but Republicans and Democrats both have worked tirelessly to make sure teachers and schools are divided, disempowered, and disillusioned.
The good news is that in Philadelphia, we’ve been dealing with reckless reformers financed by out-of-town billionaires for a long time. Here is how to take up the fight:
Step 1: Organize schools and communities
The Caucus of Working Educators has stood proudly with parents, students, and community members to resist privatization, defunding, and other flawed reforms that fail to support our students and communities. If Secretary DeVos thinks she can quietly rip the guts out of our federal protections for students in need, we will be there to raise the alarm and resist together.
Step 2: Band together in solidarity with other resisting groups
Through our Black Lives Matter week of action and support for groups such as Fight for 15, we rebuild and reaffirm the bond between labor, racial, and economic justice.
Step 3: Hold elected officials accountable, and run our people for office
The Caucus of Working Educators hit the streets and phones for candidates like Helen Gym and Governor Tom Wolf, both of whom have been strong advocates for public schools and will continue to protect our city and state in the face of potentially devastating national legislation.
Step 4: Position ourselves as leaders in the resistance against Trump
President Trump’s White Nationalist movement brought us DeVos, and will continue to hurt our kids and our schools. We must work to resist the agenda in all its forms, and thereby tap into the new wave of activism.
Comcast has been bullying our mayor. Recently, the corporation threatened to sue if Mayor Kenney does not veto a bill that passed unanimously through City Council. The bill, which aims to prevent wage discrimination against women and minorities, would prohibit employers from asking applicants about their previous salaries.
Why is Comcast so aggressively opposing the bill? Because basing compensation on previous salaries allows companies to pay women and minorities less than their white male counterparts. Women, and especially women of color, are often paid less in their first jobs, which sets them up for a lifetime of lower pay. As a result, women are paid 80% of what men are paid on average in the United States.
In the name of economic development, Philadelphians have already sacrificed a lot in order to make Comcast feel welcome in our city. Taxpayers provided over $40 million in state grants to subsidize the Comcast Center; we give up millions in revenue each year in the form of tax abatement; and, we pay more for our cable TV than Comcast customers in other cities. Our city has bent over backwards to protect Comcast’s bottom line.
Perhaps this is why Comcast feels so comfortable telling our mayor what to do.
Now is the time for Mayor Kenney to send a clear message to his corporate bully by signing the wage discrimination bill into law. He has until January 26th to make his decision.
While Kenney has a solid history of sticking up for workers, he may need some encouragement to stand up to Comcast. We need to remind him of his responsibility to protect workers from discrimination and protect our city from corporate greed.
You can email (firstname.lastname@example.org), tweet (@PhillyMayor), or call (215-686-2181) to let him know that teachers are paying attention and that we expect him to stand up for Philly’s workers.
There's no better way to welcome in 2017 than by committing to be part of the political change we are seeking to effect within the district, the city, and the state.
This week, the Caucus of Working Educators Political Committee will be launching its year-long drive to get Philly educators and our allies to commit to running for Democratic Committee Person in the 2018 Primaries, so that we can start influencing how our schools are run by infiltrating the gears of the Political Machine that runs Philly.
These are 4-year elected positions that do not involve a lot of time but are integral to making the city function. All that you need to do in order to run is live in the City of Philadelphia. We will help you do the rest and get your name on the ballot!
It's time we STOPPED electing politicians who simply pay us lip service and time we started voting for OURSELVES.
IT'S TIME TO START FLEXING OUR TRUE POLITICAL MUSCLE.
Please take a moment to fill in the following survey so that, together, we can be the change we seek: https://goo.gl/DZ05eh
It has always been a mission of the Caucus of Working Educators to stand for social justice both in public education as well as the larger community. In spite of the surprising news that came with yesterday’s election results, we remain steadfast in our mission.
WE will fight for the rights of unions to exist and for workers to fight for fair salaries and working conditions. WE will continue to oppose the school-to-prison pipeline. WE will stand with our immigrant students, and respect their rights to a decent education and livelihood. WE will demand that our students are free from violence in their schools and in the communities where they live. WE will fight to have our LGBTQ student population’s rights and dignity respected. WE will ensure that students of color receive equal treatment to their white peers.
WE will continue to fight for educational and socioeconomic justice within and beyond our school walls. WE will never tolerate anything less than what is best for our students, our city, and our profession.
No matter what comes, WE will be right here. WE will be organizing.