Our Platform

This vision comes from conversations with thousands of PFT members. Starting in the spring of 2019, Working Educators organized “contract action team” meetings at schools across the city, and with many different bargaining units. These contract action teams looked in-depth at our contract language and compared it to contract language from other cities. Thousands of PFT members weighed in to prioritize the top issues facing our members. 

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Fighting for the School Philly Students, Parents, and Educators Deserve:


1. Wages, Health Care, and Other Benefits
  • Family-sustaining wages that respect our value and experience, and allow PFT members in all bargaining units to work just one job
  • Quality health care coverage with stable costs
  • Raises that match inflation and don't get canceled out by health care or other deductions
  • Parking and mass-transit passes
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Flexible spending accounts
2. Parental- and Family-Friendly Policies for Educators
  • Six weeks of paid parental leave
  • Private, clean spaces and break times for breast pumping
  • Expanding paid time-off options for parents to attend to their children’s education
  • Changing the 3-5-7-9 attendance policy, which penalizes working parents and caregivers
3. Lower Class Sizes for Better Teaching & Learning
  • Class size caps that ease learning and teaching: 25 students for grades K-3, 26 for 4-5, 27 for 6-8, and 28 for 9-12
  • Class size reductions based on the need to provide accommodations, modifications, and individualized instruction for students with disabilities, English language learners, and more
  • Enforcement policies that hold the District to class size mandates
4. Healthy School Buildings
  • Facilities free from lead, asbestos, mold, and pests
  • School buildings meeting EPA and OSHA standards
  • Fully furnished classrooms, safe and accessible playgrounds, comfortable temperatures, and well-stocked and fully functional bathrooms
  • High-efficiency replacements when buildings break down
5. More Physical, Mental, and Developmental Health Providers
  • A full-time nurse and school psychologist in every school every day
  • Hire more occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and language pathologists
  • Reduce ratios and caseloads to nationally recognized standards for counselors, nurses, and related service providers
  • Healthy, private office spaces where related service professionals can meet with students
6. Paraprofessionals and School Staff
  • Professional respect, contractual support, and fair wages for paraprofessionals, secretaries, and other school staff providing essential services beyond teaching and administration
  • Quality orientation, training, and professional development for non-teaching PFT members
  • Realistic pathways to advancement and teaching positions for interested school staff
7. Treat All PFT Members as Professionals
  • Appropriate, relevant, and self-determined professional development
  • Less paperwork and testing in order to focus on instruction
  • Fair, humane evaluations based on best practices
  • Evaluation and feedback from teachers on building administrators and District policy
  • Accountability for principals who disregard District policy or the PFT contract
8. Libraries, Art, Music, Health, and P.E. for All Students
  • Educate the whole child by giving all students access to the arts, music, health and physical education
  • A fully-staffed libraries with certified school librarians, and full-time art, music, health, and P.E. teachers in all schools
  • Funding for supplies and materials for all specialist teachers
9. Strong Special Education Services
  • Sufficient staffing and service provisions so all IEP students have access to quality education in a timely fashion
  • Special Education teachers and related service providers need class size limits for instruction, an efficient online IEP system, and release time to administer assessments
  • Additional release time for SELs to appropriately support students and teachers
  • Address massive racial, gender, and class inequalities faced by many of our IEP students 
10. Restorative Justice and Trauma-Informed Schools
  • Policies that stop the school-to-prison pipeline and support students dealing with trauma
  • Hire more full-time mental health professionals and social workers to help students' social and emotional needs inside and outside of school
  • Invest in staff and training for proper implementation of restorative practices, trauma-informed practices, anti-racist training, and de-escalation training
11. Developmentally & Culturally Appropriate Teaching
  • Curricula allowing educators to teach to our fullest capabilities, and teach students skills they need to be powerful learners and citizens
  • No more than ten hours of standardized testing over a single school year
  • Curricula centering contributions from different cultures, genders, sexualities, and abilities
12. Recruit and Retain Educators of Color
  • Paid mentorship programs for veteran teachers of color to support new teachers
  • Pathways to encourage high school and college students of color to enter the field of education
  • Annual publication of employee demographic information by the District, in order to show growth towards this goal
13. Supporting Immigrant Students and Families
  • More ESOL teachers, bilingual psychologists and teachers, and dedicated staff for newcomer students
  • Smaller class sizes for ESOL and Dual Language programs
  • Fewer required tests for ELLs in order to maximize needed instruction time
  • Bilingual Counseling Assistants (BCAs) who speak more languages, have fewer school assignments, and earn competitive salaries compared to other interpretation jobs
14. Parents as Partners
  • Recognize families as integral partners in their children’s education, and in the success of schools overall
  • Fully inform parents and guardians about conditions of, and needs in, their children's school buildings
  • Guarantee their representation in hiring decisions for principals and staff
  • Build support and power in neighborhoods for pro-child and pro-education initiatives
15. Ending Unfair District Staffing Practices
  • Eliminate the disruptive churn of leveling 
  • Stop contracting out staff
  • Restore PFT positions that were cut and turned into non-union labor
16. Full Funding for Our Schools
  • Increased funding and fair funding formulas for our schools on federal, state, and local levels
  • Payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) from Philadelphia's non-profit and corporate residents
  • Eliminating the 10-year property tax abatement
  • A charter school moratorium, and tougher standards of academic and financial accountability for existing charters
  • Advocacy for policy and politicians in support of public education and its funding 

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