UPDATE: This will be an outdoor, socially distant meeting. Attendees are expected to follow social distancing guidelines. Chairs will be stationed at least 6 feet apart, please bring your own mask.
Join us for a meeting to discuss how to fight for a safe reopening and fully funded schools.
This week, after a decisive rejection of their initial hybrid plan by both educators and families, the School District announced that Philadelphia public schools will be fully remote for the first term of 2020. Even though remote learning poses many challenges for both educators and families, it is clear that returning to school buildings right now would be unsafe. This announcement is a relief for many, but the fight for the safe schools our students deserve is far from over.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Philadelphia schools were poisoning children and teachers with asbestos and lead. The district has taken few steps to fix this, while schools have been empty for months. It is the systemic underfunding of public education at all levels of government, which has led to crumbling infrastructure, lack of basic supplies, poor working conditions for educators and perpetuation of racial and class-based inequalities for students.
Unions of educators and other school staff occupy a key position in this fight and could lead an effective and bold struggle. We can draw on the strongest tactics of the Red for Ed movement, where unions organized students, parents, and the broader community into the struggle to fight for common demands. Educators and parents should come together at democratic town halls to discuss how to win a safe school year. Our movement must organize to make sure all students have access to technology and get teachers prepared to provide high-quality virtual instruction while carrying out the massive infrastructure overhaul necessary to eventually provide safe in-person education for all students.
Socialist Alternative is demanding:
– Committees of educators, parents, and students must be set up to decide how schools reopen. If safety requirements are not met educators’ unions should be prepared to strike.
– Tax the rich & cut police budgets by at least 50% to fund education. Remove police from schools and use funding to hire counselors and nurses.
– Free high-speed internet connection for students and educators, funded by taxing Comcast.
– A massive union jobs program to fix unsafe school infrastructure.
– A moratorium on new charters. PFT should rapidly launch organizing drives in charter schools and non-union schools.
– Link with public sector unions facing vicious cuts to fight for the working and living conditions we need including a moratorium on evictions, cash assistance to families, and access to healthcare.
– No faith in corporate politicians. Democrats and Republicans alike are failing students and educators, we need a new party of and for working people.