PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and several community partners launched a television, radio, online and print ad buy today in Philadelphia demanding that Mayor Michael Nutter stop standing with Gov. Tom Corbett as he starves schools of resources, and that he push for full and fair funding for Philadelphia schools. Corbett cut $1 billion from Pennsylvania public schools, and he and Nutter continue to try and pin the crisis they created on teachers. Parents, teachers, students and community members are calling on Mayor Nutter to stand with them, not the governor.
"Mayor Nutter has a choice here. He can either stand on the side of the parents, teachers and voters in Philadelphia, or he can continue to cozy up to Gov. Corbett," said PFT President Jerry Jordan, who is an AFT vice president. "I hope he makes the right decision because we need leaders who are going to put the interests of students ahead of the interests of corporations and wealthy donors."
"We stand in full support of the PFT, the parents, the students and the community, who are working to reclaim the promise of public education for all Philadelphia children," said AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Pennsylvania President Ted Kirsch, who is also an AFT vice president.
The $50 million Mayor Nutter borrowed at the eleventh hour may allow schools to open on time, but it isn't enough. Students will face overflowing classes with no arts, music or extracurricular activities, and their schools won't have enough staff to provide them with individual attention and support. Philadelphia children deserve better. Twenty-four schools have been closed, three more were given to charter companies, and nearly 4,000 teachers and school support staff have been laid off.
The ads feature Kia Hinton, a parent of three Philadelphia public school students. She puts it simply: "We can fix our schools. You've got a choice, Mayor Nutter. Stand with the governor or invest in our kids' education."
The AFT's ad buy is in partnership with several Philadelphia community, parent and student groups, including Youth United for Change, Philadelphia Home and School Council, Philadelphia Student Union, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, Media Mobilizing Project, Jewish Labor Committee, Fight for Philly, Action United, AFT Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice and Philadelphia AFL-CIO.