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
Do you care about racial and economic justice? Do you like to bike? Join the WE team raising money for the Bread & Roses Community Fund's "Change Ride" on September 16th- you can join us for the ride or contribute money to the team!
Riders will enjoy a 10-mile ride across Philadelphia, visiting four Bread & Roses grantees: New Sanctuary Movement, Put People First! PA, Reentry Think Tank, and Youth United for Change. Organizers from these groups will share stories about their campaigns and tell us why those neighborhoods are important to them and the movements they lead. The ride kicks off at 8:30am at Rowhouse Grocery in South Philadelphia with a complimentary breakfast, and will work it's way North, ending with lunch at the Village of Art and Humanities around 1pm.
Click here to join the ride, or to make a donation to the Working Educators Team's fundraising effort. We've raised over $500 for Bread and Roses so far!Read more
Yesterday, in the evening rain, we were arrested while advocating for a $15 hourly minimum wage. We stood alongside home care workers, uber drivers, fast food employees, and allies from across the city.
You might be asking: why would high school teachers put themselves on the line for this issue? The answer is simple: workers making minimum wage are also the parents of the students we teach.
At the current minimum wage of $7.25, if those parents work 40 hours a week, they take home a mere $267.80 after taxes -- not enough to cover the needs of a single person, much less a family. If they begin to work double or triple shifts -- as many fast food workers do -- they become absent from the lives of their own children. And with Philadelphia schools already short on resources, they then have neither the time nor money to support their children’s education the way middle-class families can afford to.
This message is from Anissa Weinraub, a teacher at the Academy at Palumbo.
Attention All PFT members: Our PSERS pension is funding the violation of human rights, Native American land rights, and the potential poisoning of our national water supply. Here's how to tell PSERS to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline:Read more
"Not 1 more..." "DEPORTATION!" On Monday, July 25th, the first day of the DNC, local and national migrant justice groups led a march through South Philly to stop all unjust deportations and detentions. The march was led by Juntos and Not1More, and members of the PFT's Caucus of Working Educators and Philly Local UNITE HERE were there to join them.
Educators around the country have begun to join in this fight against unjust treatment of migrants, including many of our students. Teachers in North Carolina have led a nationwide campaign with support of the NEA to free undocumented high-school students, many who were picked up by immigration officers and sent to detention centers while on their way to school.
In Philly, Working Educators have gathered migrant justice advocates through a summer book club on David Bacon's "Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants". WE has also started a Migrant Justice Group to support groups around the city and work for migrant justice in our schools.
"Illegal People" book club member Ben Miller and his wife Cristina Martinez, co-owners of restaurant South Philly Barbacoa, provided a barbecue lunch for protestors following Tuesday's march. They will also host an unofficial migrant justice party and concert on Thursday, July 27th from 6pm-2am.
If you'd like to get involved in WE's Migrant Justice work, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As summer gets going, mark your calendars now to celebrate Philadelphia's union family at the annual Labor Day Parade and Picnic this year!
We will begin gathering at 9:30am at the Sheetmetal Workers Union Hall (1301 S. Columbus Blvd, near Washington Ave), with the parade to Penn's Landing kicking off at 10am.
Bring your whole family to celebrate after the march, at the AFL-CIO family celebration and picnic from 11-2pm at Penn's Landing! Click here to download the flyer to print or share on social media.
In 2006, Oaxaca’s section of the educator union (CNTE Local 22) led a months-long occupation of their city to create a society that respected the needs of students, workers, and indigenous people. 10 years later, the same educators and union members in Oaxaca and many other regions are again at the front of a movement to create the society our students deserve.
This time, they are fighting corporate education reforms pushing standardized teacher evaluations, mass layoffs, and the end of free education for all. They have been joined by workers across the country demanding policies that serve the interest of working people, including 200,000 doctors and nurses opposed to similar corporate health care policies.
Their challenge to the government’s attempts to create a society based on exploitation, profit, and trade union busting has sparked massive repression, including the widely-reported deaths of 12 union members when police opened fire on protesters blocking a road, and the abduction and imprisonment of many labor and movement leaders.
These Mexican educators are at the front of a battle for a better society that U.S. teachers and unions are only starting to express. They are standing up against the government’s plan that “education, health, indigenous and campesino territories, and even peace and security are a commodity for whoever can pay for them, that rights are not rights but rather products and services to be snatched away" (EZLN and Congreso Nacional Indigena).
In Philadelphia, our students’ right to a quality education, families’ rights to thriving neighborhoods without fear of deportation or displacement, and workers’ rights to dignified wages and treatment continue to be stripped away via a "death by a thousand cuts". Mexico’s educators and rank-and-file workers are showing us how to fight for just society against a system that wants to turn our communities into commodities.
Local 22 has spent the last few years crafting a counterproposal to the Mexican government’s education reforms. Among the points in the counter proposal are a curriculum based in the diverse, indigenous, and multicultural context of Oaxaca, teaching practices based in critical pedagogy, and the elimination of standardized testing to evaluate either students or teachers.
From Chile to El Salvador to Colombia, Latin America has always served as the United States’ testing ground for market-driven and union-busting policies. Their struggle is our struggle. We send our rage, tears, and admiration to these education workers who have demonstrated time and again that educators and unions have a key role in articulating a vision of the society we deserve.
While the attacks on public education, workers, and unions continue to escalate in the U.S. and across the world, we pledge to fight alongside the educators of Oaxaca and around the world for a society in which education, health, housing, and dignity are rights that every student and worker deserves.
To show our solidarity, please join us for a Oaxacan-style Barricada Cultural on Monday Night in front of Philadelphia’s Mexican Consulate at 8pm. If you would like to contribute financially, members of the Chicago Teachers Union have set up a grassroots fundraiser to support Oaxacan and CNTE educators.
If you would like to learn more or discuss the role of the U.S. in political and economic destabilization in Latin America, please join our summer book club on “Illegal People” by David Bacon (or one of the 14 other book clubs exploring racial justice, culturally relevant teaching, labor history, and many other topics).
Statement written by Max Rosen-Long, Edwin Mayorga, and Jennifer Cox.
(Milwaukee educators, students, and community members show support for Oaxacan teachers at their Mexican Consulate)
The Caucus of Working Educators just signed on to endorse Stadium Stompers - a movement of students, communities members, and allies that have come together to stop the Temple stadium.
Temple University has proposed a plan for a $100 million football stadium in the heart of historic North Philadelphia. Why should Temple be stopped, and why should WE join the fight?
- The stadium will push a largely Black community out of their homes- including many of our students, families, and coworkers.
- Temple is choosing to prioritize their own bottom-line over education.
- Even Mayor Kenney has criticized the stadium as being a bad deal for the city. Our schools and communities deserve true investment, autonomy, and stability.
- The Stadium Stompers will be marching alongside a simultaneous marches in support of the fight for $15 Minimum Wage and an end to stop-and-frisk and police brutality.
In the School District of Philadelphia we are familiar with bad, backroom deals in the name of education- but which do nothing to help students or our city while raising profits for a small group of business interests.
Joining this movement is about more than signing on as endorsers. WE have to show up:
- On Thursday, April 14, Stadium Stompers will meet from 2:00-3:30 at Broad and Cecil B. Moore by the Bell Tower to demand that Temple STOP the stadium.
- At 3:30, Stadium Stompers will march down Broad to join the simultaneous #Fightfor15 March at city hall.
- If you can't make it to Broad and Cecil B Moore by 3:30, you can head directly to City Hall to meet us.
- Invite all your friends on facebook, and share widely!
Show up the whole time or show up for ten minutes- but be there! We must say NO to the stadium, NO to displacement and gentrification, and YES to education!
On November 10 fast food workers in Philadelphia and across the nation will hold strikes and rallies to support the effort to establish a $15 minimum wage and expand the right of workers to unionize. In Philadelphia, educators will be there in solidarity.
This event, one year before the 2016 general election, begins a year of organizing and voter registration efforts meant to ensure that candidates hear the voice of workers and their families. This campaign also seeks to ensure that elected officials support policies that promote economic justice, including a livable and sustainable wage.
The Caucus of Working Educators stands in solidarity with these workers and organizers in their fight. As part of our Racial Justice Statement, we recognize economic justice as an essential part of supporting our students and eliminating structural racism in education.
As workers we know that in order to build a just economy we must support each other and stand together. As educators we know that too many of our students and too many of their families find it harder to achieve their goals and reach their potential because of economic inequality. As working educators we know that schools and society can not be improved in isolation from each other, but must be rebuilt together by the community.
On Tuesday Fight for 15 will take another step in that effort. In the year ahead we look forward to working alongside them to promote racial, economic, and social justice for all of Philadelphia’s students and their families.
Please join us as educators and workers on Tuesday for the Fight for $15 National Day of Action: