Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back to School: What's happening?

Last night, at Parents United's citywide parent meeting, several dozen parents from across the city gathered together to talk about the most pressing issues facing our schools. We heard from a parent who had ! 38 kids ! in her daughter's kindergarten class at John B. Kelly. A mother from GAMP spoke about how her fifth grader could lose bus service next year due to budget cuts; meanwhile parochial, charter and private school students are guaranteed yellow bus service. A parent at Greenfield said quality instruction is pushed to the back burner while a mom from Franklin Learning Center talked about how much she wants cross-cultural dialogue and an anti-bullying program at her school, but struggles to make it a priority with all the problems the District is facing. Parents talked about the lack of investment in neighborhood schools and how inadequate "choice" is when the neighborhood school fails. A lottery isn't exactly an option.

So tell us, what's the most important issue facing your school this year?

Parents United's blog is back up and running

After a long hiatus, Parents United's blog is back up and running. There are some great places where dialogue about our schools is happening (the Notebook is a great example), but there's aren't many places where PARENTS are talking about our experiences with school and school reforms. So we're bringing Parents United's blog back as a forum for parents to reflect on changes that are happening and most important, how those changes impact our children's learning experiences. We're looking forward to the conversation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Thanks to everyone who continues to post to Parents United's blog. With the summer months coming, things may be a little slow around here, but we hope to reinvigorate the blog by September with new discussion topics and many more chances for you, the parents and teachers of Philadelphia's public school kids, to have your voices heard.

Stay cool!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Philadelphia has a historic moment now to choose a new leader. After Constance Clayton, David Hornbeck and Paul Vallas, who are we looking for? The three finalists are currently Arlene Ackerman, former superintendent of schools in San Francisco and Washington DC; Kent McGuire, Dean of Temple’s College of Education; and Leroy Nunery, a former official with Edison Schools Inc. who headed Edison’s School Management and Charter Schools division. (Check out Parents United's website for a list of articles on the public record about the finalists --

A citizens committee of some 40 individuals representing interests as diverse as parents, business, city and state officials and youth groups (including Parents United) has an opportunity to interview the candidates in January. The SRC hopes to announce the CEO by the end of the month.

What are your thoughts about the next CEO? What kind of qualifications should they have? What are the top priorities for us as parents? What more information would you like to see about the top three candidates?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Parking Authority Call-in Campaign

Since September, Parents United has led a public call for the Parking Authority to live up to a 2004 commitment to fund public schools. Since 2004, they've given $0.00 to our schools. Meanwhile, they've got six-figure salaries, doubled their payroll, increased pensions, and pay their Executive Director more than the Governor of Pennsylvania.

We're asking parents to call our state legislators about this issue and demand an answer on whether they're going to pressure the Parking Authority to live up to their promise. Post your concerns and responses here!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Background checks on parent volunteers

This month CEO Tom Brady issued a notice (see here -- we should have the memo on the Parents United website) that schools needed to have a battery of forms on file for parent volunteers, among them a criminal background check and child abuse clearance. At a time when we're trying to balance safety issues with encouraging parents to feel welcome at a school, does this new policy mandate stifle parent engagement or is it a necessary measure?

Changes in the high school selection process

This month Parents United for Public Education and more than 16 parent organizations and bodies succeeded in changing the District's plan to scrap the multiple acceptances policy. Because of a rushed timeline, the District agreed to allow multiple acceptances this year only. But Parents United remains concerned that the District might remove this choice option next year. Administrators have termed multiple acceptances a "redundant step" and say it holds up the District's budgeting timeline. What do you think?