Washington—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the Philadelphia School Reform Commission's recommendation to close 38 public schools.
"Instead of imposing top-down mandates to close schools and destabilize neighborhoods, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission should be engaging with educators, parents and community members to invest in our public schools and provide teachers and students with the tools and resources they need to thrive.
"Any reforms to Philadelphia's schools must be informed by the needs of the community and the students who live there. The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, a diverse group of educators, parents, students and community leaders, has been working for months to engage Philadelphians across the city to develop solutions that have the support and input of the people who educate, learn and live in Philadelphia. I witnessed this work firsthand when I visited schools and met with community members last fall. The School Reform Commission has a responsibility to listen to what Philadelphians want for their schools, their children and their city, and to act in their interests, not in the interests of those who want to privatize schools or balance the budget on the backs of students. "