PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) and the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) today announced the results of a survey gauging Philadelphia public school parents’ and community residents’ perceptions of the School Reform Commission, the biggest issues facing our schools, and the best solutions to end the public education crisis in Philadelphia.
“The SRC has made numerous decisions about our schools that go against the wishes of neighborhood residents,” said PFT president Jerry Jordan, “The PFT values the input of parents and community residents when it comes to a vision for public schools.”
An overwhelming majority (96.8 percent) of parents and community residents say they prefer a locally controlled school board to the SRC, with a plurality preferring a combination of elected and appointed school board members.
The survey also shows that residents’ biggest concern is the lack of student services and safety issues in our schools; and that additional education funding is the best solution:
• 60.2 percent say that lack of student services is one of the most significant issues facing our schools, followed by safety issues (47 percent)
• 76.9 percent identify additional funding as one of the top solutions for Philadelphia’s education crisis
Jordan—who was joined at today’s press conference by PA state Rep. Cherelle Parker, PA state Sen. Vincent Hughes, City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, public school parent Terrilyn McCormick, Minh Nguyen of Boat People SOS and several members of the Philadelphia delegation—said local control is no mere rallying cry for the union or those running for public office, but the clear will of the people.
The PFT and PCAPS plan to use the survey results to press for a non-binding resolution from City Council on the need for local control. The union is also working closely with Working Families Organization to include a referendum on local control on the ballot in this November’s election.
“Both measures would send a strong message to the SRC, the mayor and Harrisburg: state control has failed miserably,” said Jordan, “It’s time to return control of Philadelphia’s schools to the people of Philadelphia.”