Solidarity With Dyett Hunger Strikers!

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As the hunger strike to save Dyett High School from closure and reopen it as a community school enters it’s third week, we want to appeal to education justice supporters in Philadelphia and elsewhere to demonstrate support on social media. Following the SRC’s cancellation of the PFT contract, hundreds of people posted “solidarity selfies” on our website and on FB and Twitter. We want to mount a similar effort in support of the hunger strikers as they travel to Washington to ask the Secretary of Education “to do the right thing.”

Some suggested slogans:

Use hashtag #FightForDyett

From Philadelphia to Chicago
School Closures punish poor families of color

Fight for Community Schools, the schools our children deserve

Chester Upland, Philadelphia, Chicago
Same struggle, same fight

Closure and privatization not the answer
Sustainable Community Schools Now!

Hey Rahm and Arne
Black Lives Matter

 

 

Please share your solidarity selfie with PCAPS via our FB page or email it to us and we will post them all on our website.   pcaps201@gmail.com

 

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FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL COMCAST ACTION

Our schools, once again, are opening with uncertain funding and without the resources to offer all children a quality education.   One front in the struggle is getting corporations to pay their fair share.   In Philadelphia that fight is now centered on COMCAST which has made huge profits from it’s cable franchise while avoiding paying millions in  school property taxes, thanks to tax abatements.

Comcast’s 15 year franchise is up for renewal this year and  CAP-COMCAST, a city wide coalition that includes PCAPS,  is fighting for an agreement that will include up to 35 million dollars in funding for a school technology teacher in every school and computer access for all students.   We are asking the Mayor and City Council to endorse this demand.   And we are asking parents, school workers, students and the whole community to support this fight.

TIME FOR COMCAST TO PAY ITS FAIR SHARE!

FUND ONE TECH TEACHER PER PHILADELPHIA PUBLIC SCHOOL, EXPAND COMPUTER ACCESS FOR ALL STUDENTS

 PHILADELPHIA NEEDS A COMCAST FRANCHISE AGREEMENT THAT BENEFITS WORKING FAMILIES

Friday, September 11th

Rally at City Hall, 4:00 pm

March to Comcast Tower, 17th and JFK

MMP_CAPComcast_Logo_WEBPCAPS logo revised

flyer available here

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PCAPS Planning First Week of School Actions

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Philadelphia schools will open in several weeks, that much seems certain. But, once again, adequate funding is uncertain and we are a long way from creating the kind of schools our children deserve.

WE NEED A STATE BUDGET TO FULLY AND FAIRLY FUND EDUCATION. The School District is counting on a major infusion of revenue from the state that could restore many of the cuts made during the Corbett years. Governor Wolf has proposed a budget that includes new revenue for schools coming from an extraction tax on oil and gas drilling and increasing both the income and sales tax with protections for low income resident and property tax relief for local communities. But the Tea Party Republicans want another Corbett style budget that would starve education and human services. We need to do everything we can to support the Governor and move enough Republican legislators to get his budget passed.

WE NEED COMCAST TO PAY ITS FAIR SHARE The Comcast corporation has received generous tax abatements and avoided paying school property taxes for years. Now they need to renew their franchise agreement with the city that gives them a near monopoly position. A broad coalition is demanding the City make dedicated funding for school technology and staffing part of the agreement, something that could raise 35 million dollars a year for the District.

WE NEED A CONTRACT THAT IS FAIR TO SCHOOL EMPLOYEES AND GOOD FOR STUDENTS The SRC and the District refuse to bargain with the PFT and, instead, have claimed the power to void their contract. Historically that contract has provided valuable protections to teachers and students, like limits on class size and staffing ratios. Attacks on the living standards and union rights of school workers will not attract the best teachers into our schools. The District needs to get back to the bargaining table.

WE NEED SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS Our schools should be fully staffed with full time nurses, counselors and certified librarians. We need engaging instruction, including art, music and service learning, not drill and kill test prep. We need positive behavior supports, not punitive discipline. We need a real voice for parents, community and school staff, including democratic, local control.  And we need wrap around services that can meet the needs of families living in deep poverty. Jim Kenny has signed on to 25 new community schools his first term, but the District’s 3.0 Action plan doesn’t even mention them.

To raise awareness of the continuing education crisis and press our demands we’re planning several actions the first week of school:

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

LABOR DAY ACTION Monday, 9-7 – We will be at the traditional Labor Day march from the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall to Penn’s Landing to leaflet and talk to union members and supporters about the need for a fair budget and support for public education.  Join us at 9am at the march staging area at Sheet Metal Workers.

SCHOOL RALLIES FOR FULL FUNDING AND A FAIR CONTRACT Join with PFT members, students and parents.

• Tuesday, 9-8. 3:30 pm Lincoln High School , 3201 Ryan Ave.

• Wednesday, 9-9, 7:45am, Cramp Elementary School, 3449 N. Mascher St.

COMCAST ACTION Thursday, 9-11, 4:00pm – Rally at City Hall, March to Comcast Tower ( The CAP Comcast coalition will be highlighting its demands for a franchise agreement that supports schools and internet access for low income Philadelphians.

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The Fight For A Fair Budget Continues!

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photo credit: Garret Ettinger

Following a bus tour for education funding that visited more than a dozen communities across the state, over fifty people, beginning on June 29th,  staged a week long occupation in Harrisburg demanding the Republican dominated legislature tax the shale and adopt a fair budget that can give us the schools we deserve.

Spearheaded by SEIU Healthcare, the occupation included people from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Altoona, Williamsport, the Lehigh Valley, Johnstown and communities across the breadth of the state, PCAPS was well represented by ACTION United. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers brought out over a hundred teachers for a rally in the Capitol Rotunda that kicked off the week long occupation. Fast food workers from the fight for 15 and a union also joined in. Raising the minimum wage was one of themes of the occupation.

Occupiers camped out on the capitol steps and slept on the floor in a near by church. Over the course of the week rallies were staged in the Senate corridors and at the offices of Scott Wagner in York, Rep. Cox near Reading. Occupiers also demonstrated at the state Chamber of Commerce and the offices of lobbyists for the Oil and gas industry and the Restaurant owners.

On Thursday Governor Tom Wolf, after vetoing the budget passed by the legislature, came out on the Capitol steps to express appreciation for the support for his budget and to talk with the demonstrators.

Clearly the battle is far from over. Occupiers, now back home, are planning more actions in their local communities to build support for a fair budget and influence legislators in key districts.

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Faces of the State Tour for Education Funding

For the last week the PA Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools has gone to seven communities to rally for a state budget that will provide funding for the schools our children deserve.  The tour continues this week, ending in Harrisburg on the 29th.  Some highlights are shown below:

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Day One of the Bus Tour for the Schools Our Children Deserve

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The bus sprung a gas leak, the clouds threatened rain, but the Pennslyvania Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools bus tour launched anyway at Spring Garden School.

Speakers including Pastor Mark Tyler from Mother Bethel AME Church and POWER, Jerry Jordan, President of the PFT, Sheila Armstrong, Spring Garden parent and POWER leader, and Kia Hinton, Chair woman of ACTION United, spoke about the state of our schools and the need for full, fair, funding now. Passing a tax on Marcellus Shale and a funding formula that ends the racial and class disparities in the way education is funded in Pennsylvania were common themes.

The tour will go to over a dozen different communities across the state, culminating in Harrisburg on June 29th when an occupation of the capitol focused on getting the state legislature to pass a budget. will begin.

For regular updates on the tour and the fight for the state budget go to: https://www.facebook.com/AROSPennsylvania?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Pictures from the incomparable Harvey Finkle

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Comcast Needs To Pay It’s Fair Share

A broad coalition, including PCAPS, held a press conference yesterday at City Hall, then spread out to lobby Council members to press Comcast to extend internet access and support our schools as part of a franchise agreement with the City. One of the coalition’s demands is for Comcast to pay for the staffing of a technology teacher and leader at District schools.

For more information on the campaign go to: http://capcomcast.org

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Rally for The Schools Our Children Deserve!

Monday, June 15th, 3:30p.m.

Spring Garden School 1146 Melon St

Kick Off Of The State Bus Tour for School Funding

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Students Painting Bus in Pittsburgh for its trip around the state

Schools like Spring Garden Elementary have been hard hit with years of budget cuts. This year we have a chance to get the resources our children need. Governor Wolf has proposed a tax on Marcellus shale and other measures to raise over a billion dollars in new revenue for education in a budget that should be passed no later than July 1. But a Republican controlled legislature is blocking the road.

AROS PA, a state wide coalition of 29 groups, has organized a state wide bus tour the last two weeks in June to demonstrate that people across our state, in cities, suburbs, and rural areas, want investment in schools and expect their elected representatives to do the right thing and vote for this budget.

The first stop is Philadelphia where parents, school staff and community members will rally and get on the bus to call and write their elected officials. The last stop will be Harrisburg on July 29th.

For regular updates on the tour and the fight for the state budget go to: https://www.facebook.com/AROSPennsylvania?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

pacpslogo2          AROS logo_facebook

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Fair Funding Needed From City Council

PCAPS is trying to set up meetings and organize lobbying of Council. If you can help let us know.

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                           What We Want From City Council

1.We recognize and appreciate Council’s past support in stepping in to fill the gap caused by the Corbett budget cuts and the state’s failure to adopt the fair, full budget we need.

2.Nevertheless more is needed.   We support the District’s call for $105 million more in city.   In conjunction with the additional money that will come from the state if the Governor’s budget is passed, this can begin to reverse the decline of our schools.

  1. However we have differences with the SRC and the District over how that money should be spent.   The highest priority should be restoring the lost positions of nurses, counselors, certified librarians, and teachers so that our schools are well staffed.   The District plan to contract out nursing services should be opposed by Council.   We also are opposed to charter expansion and call for investment in neighborhood public schools, including the creation of sustainable community schools beginning in high poverty neighborhoods.

4.When it comes to revenue for the schools, we oppose the whole burden being borne by working class homeowners. We should first look for revenue from the following sources:

  • Increasing the Use and Occupancy tax on big corporate landlords to cancel out the tax windfall they got from AVI two years ago. This could raise up to $42.5 million
  • Raise taxes on center city parking garages and lots.   Land is under-assessed which encourages speculation and restricts the kind of development that would increase revenue.   Increasing these taxes could raise $7.5 million
  • PILOTS: Council should call for the mega-non profits who are among the city’s biggest property owners to financially support the schools, not as a form of charity, but as a regular and recurring contribution.   $10 million would be a reasonable goal.
  • As a condition for renewing its cable franchise, Comcast should commit to contributing to the District’s technology budget including the salaries for high school technology leaders and mobile laptops for schools. This could amount to $7 million in dedicated revenue for the District.
  1. Provided there is some significant shared sacrifice, then we would support a modest residential property tax increase ($3.75 per month on the median property), an increase that should be canceled out the following year with the tax relief the Governor is proposing.

6.   These ideas were put forward during the recent primary campaign by Helen Gym who won nomination for a City Council at large seat, an indication of broad support for a fair share revenue plan.

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YUC Students Press Demand To Make Kensington Urban a Community School

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Students came to City Council yesterday to make their case that the District needs to keep the Kensington small schools intact and, beginning with Kensington Urban Education, transform them into sustainable community schools.

Unfortunately by the time they got to speak the room was nearly empty. It is ironic that while dozens of adults including Council members were full of opinions about what students need, listening to the passionate and articulate young people from YUC, was not a high priority.

An exception was Maria Quinones Sanchez who spoke eloquently after the students and called on Council to take seriously the arguments for maintaining the small school vision and recognized the important work YUC does to insure that student voice is heard.

Also present was a delegation from Philadelphia Student Union in solidarity with the YUC students.   PCAPS coordinator and YUC Board President Ron Whitehorne also gave testimony.   Whitehorne was part of a panel that included Helen Gym and Philadelphia School Partnerhsip Director Mark Gleason.   Both Gym and Whitehorne called for more funding, including demands that corporations and mega non profits pay their fair share.  Gleason  was roundly booed and interupted when he called for a new round of school closings.

The SRC will vote next month on the administration’s plan to merge Kensington Urban with Kensington Business.

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