PFT President Jerry Jordan in Inquirer Op-Ed: The moral and constitutional imperative for investing in young people

May 31, 2022

Read the op-ed here.

With burgeoning resources in the Commonwealth’s coffers, coupled with an evergreen moral (and constitutional) imperative, this year’s state budget must meaningfully and sustainably address years of continued disinvestment in our young people.

Just over two weeks ago, a white supremacist targeted a predominantly Black community in Buffalo, NY, killing 10 community members — a teacher, a bus aide, a community activist, and so many others who were deeply loved. And since that day, our nation has endured 33 mass shootings. Over the holiday weekend in Philadelphia, 13 people were murdered, including a 10-year-old boy and his father. Just over a week ago, we saw horror unfold at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman terrorized a community and stole the lives of nineteen precious fourth graders and two beloved teachers. In both Buffalo and Uvalde, these acts were carried out by an 18-year-old with legal access to an assault rifle.

The crisis of gun violence is intolerable, and we continue to call for both local and national solutions, including common sense gun reform. Further, both the gun violence crisis and the deadly COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionately affected Black and brown children and their families.

Decades of disinvestment in public education has also hurt Black and brown children. In 2022, communities are still deeply immersed in the fight for equity for our young people — and continue to be forced to justify resources that are seen as nonnegotiable in wealthier, whiter school districts. In fact, advocates have had to sue the Commonwealth for its abject failure to meet its constitutional mandate to provide all of Pennsylvania’s children with a thorough and efficient system of public education.

PFT President Jerry Jordan on the Second Anniversary of the Murder of George Floyd at the Hands of Minneapolis Police

May 25, 2022

"The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police should continue to horrify us all. Today, I reiterate this union’s commitment to the fight for racial justice.

"The systems of oppression and racism that we work to dismantle every day remain deeply embedded—in policing, in education funding, and in nearly every facet of our society. Today and often, the loved ones of George Floyd are in my thoughts. Black Lives Matter."

Read our principles of racial justice here.

Member Message on the Devastation of Gun Violence

May 25, 2022

Dear Members,

Like all of you, I can't stop thinking about the 19 students and 2 teachers who went to school yesterday in Uvalde, Texas and never returned home. Because of an eighteen year old with guns, so many lives are forever shattered, and I know you join me in holding the parents, siblings, families, and entire Uvalde community in your hearts.

As I shared in a brief statement yesterday, this level of catastrophic gun violence that continues to tear families apart is simply too much to bear. 

Just eleven days ago, in Buffalo, New York, a white supremacist with access to guns targeted and terrorized a predominantly Black community, and in his racist massacre took ten innocent lives. I released this statement then, and am shocked and yet unfortunately not surprised that once again, our nation is responding to what should be an unthinkable tragedy.