On Thursday, October 16th, ten members of the Caucus testified before the SRC. This week we will be posting some of their testimonies in written form.
My name is Amy-Nicole Roat. I am a citizen of Philadelphia. I am a member of the PFT. I am a member of the Caucus of Working Educators. I am a teacher.
My father was a firefighter and my mother was a teacher. When I was in college and sat down with my parents to discuss my decision to become a teacher, they could not have more proud. My father reminded me that while I would not have material wealth, I would have the great reward of helping others. I would have to work very hard and in return I would have a predictable income, decent benefits, and the respect of my community. Eventually, after contributing with every paycheck, I would even have a pension to rely on in my retirement. Now this story isn’t unique – most civil servants will tell a story similar to mine.
For many years, the members of this commission have done everything in their power to undermine every single aspect of our humble, yet noble plans. You have systematically undermined our trust and the trust of the public by erasing our contract. You have also raised the ire of every union member in this city.
My greatest fear, however, is not for my future; it is for the future of Philadelphia’s children and families. Not many parents in this day would encourage their child to be a teacher. The steps you have taken have seriously hampered the potential to attract quality teachers in this city. One can hardly pick up a paper without reading of the plight of the students and PFT members. Rather than a seasoned teacher corps, we may be lucky in the near future to have glorified temp workers that burn out every two or three years. I know that most people in this city will see your cynical vote for what it was – a deliberate move to bust our union and further erode the education of the kids in this city. Know this: we will not rest until we have undone your heinous deed.
In all honesty, I cannot say that I was surprised by last week’s ambush – I didn’t know what or when, but I knew you - Green, Hite, Jimenez, and Simms were planning to harm us. My only surprise was that Neff joined you. Neff, you were one of us and you betrayed us. It will never be forgiven and never be forgotten. You will forever be a shameful footnote when history records that students and parents, the PFT and its many other allies, fought back against you, and won. We won’t let you erase our careers and our union.