Today is the first day of school in Philadelphia, where there is no love for public school students.
Students are returning to schools with overcrowded classes, “split-grade” classrooms and no full-time librarians.
There are no new books, no art or music, few guidance counselors and no plan to provide IEP services as mandated by federal and state law. Roughly 14 percent of the school district’s 136,000 students are in special education, which includes homeless, foster and gifted children.
The Pennsylvania State Chapter of the National Action Network and 7000 Villagers for Quality and Safe Schools and Communities are organizing for action.
On Feb. 28, 2013, 7000 Villagers filed a class action lawsuit to stop the school closings and protect the interests of students who under federal and state law are classified as “special needs” students. The school district is required to develop and implement an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for each special needs student. The lawsuit is about shared sacrifice (publicly funded charter and cyber schools are not subject to the “doomsday budget”), transparency and accountability. The bottom line: Follow the money.
It bears remembering that Gov. Tom Corbett runs Philly schools through the unelected School Reform Commission.
To get involved in the fight to ensure our children have equitable access to a “thorough and efficient system of public education” as required under the Pennsylvania Constitution, contact PA NAN at (215) 765-6181.
No justice, no peace.