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?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to school!

Welcome back to the start of a new school year! This year Parents United is committed more than ever to being a watchdog in the schools, particularly around staffing, funding, services and supports.

We're particularly interested in whether you notice: split grades, larger than normal class sizes, and any change in non-teaching personnel, classroom assistants, librarians, art and music programs, and services for special needs students. We'll be using your information to demand answers and accountability from the District and SRC.

Post your comments here and help us make Philadelphia public schools better!

Back to School Pt. II - How do you get there?

The Governor and SEPTA announced a historic deal in August 2007 which would guarantee free transportation to Philadelphia public school students. Actually, only eligible 7th-12th graders will ride SEPTA for free. So how are you getting to school? Does the SEPTA deal help you out? What other concerns do you have about transportation? After all, if we can't get to school, then how can we learn?

Reduce Class Sizes Now!

Reducing class size in the Philadelphia public schools remains a central mission of Parents United. After more than a year long campaign to raise attention to increasing class sizes, Parents United finally achieved a small measure of success in August 2007 when the School Reform Commission adopted a 5-year plan to reduce class sizes across the city. But for most parents, five years is too long. Talk about class sizes and why it matters here!