PFT President Jerry Jordan Testifies at Council Hearing on Facilities Crisis

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December 15, 2021

PHILADELPHIA—Today, in a joint hearing of Council's Committees on Finance and Children & Youth, PFT President Jerry Jordan testified about the School District of Philadelphia's ongoing facilities crisis.

Access Jordan's full testimony here and the attachments here.

In his testimony, Jordan spoke about several key areas:

Overview

First, Jordan provided an overview of the scope and solutions to the toxic schools that for too long have quite literally poisoned students and staff.

Process & Transparency

Second, Jordan addressed ongoing concerns with process and transparency. These issues include but are not limited to the following:

The District’s refusal to provide our Director of Environmental Science with regular access to buildings as he has had for nearly forty years.

The District’s refusal to implement protocols that have either been in practice for years or protocols that have been agreed upon, or protocols that we have outlined that are best practices.

Jordan also shared a recent letter from Dr. Hite to members of our Fund Our Facilities Coalition. Jordan noted, "It is galling to me that, in response to more than forty elected, union, and community leaders, Dr. Hite and the District continue to double-down on their misguided and frankly unsafe approach to addressing the facilities crisis."

Funding

Third, Jordan highlighted the critical funding necessary to address the crisis. Jordan noted that, "given the influx of federal funding, we are at a critical inflection point in our facilities fight. And that means getting us to the point where our schools are no longer poisoning students and staff. Let me repeat: we have the funding now to get us to this very, very baseline point."

Jordan continued: "But let me also be clear: to get us to the point that our children deserve, and in fact to which they are constitutionally entitled, we need a massive influx of federal dollars. The Build Back Better bill sets the stage for this influx, but does not provide sufficient funding. The PFT remains steadfastly committed to fighting for federal funding, and we believe that a Green New Deal for Public Schools is an absolutely essential next step."

Conclusion

And lastly, and most critically, Jordan concluded his testimony by reiterating the impact of the crisis: 

"[L]et me close by reminding you what this is all about: human beings.

"Human beings-- young people and their educators and school staff--who are, day in and day out, being subject to devastating conditions that are, in fact, life threatening. [...]

"It’s simply unconscionable, and each and every one of us should be absolutely disgusted that in the year 2021, this profound level of inequity, racism, and injustice is allowed to persist in even one school building."

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Read PFT President Jerry Jordan's full testimony here and the attachments here.