In Philadelphia, The Philly School Reform Commission (SRC) approved a $2.4 billion spending plan that cuts various programs in arts, music, athletics, and other programs. Fortunately, I seem to be friends with all the right people (that I met at the incredible student power convergence last year), and came across an impassioned Facebook status. I remember instantly clicking with him when we were discussing K-12 education and going off about Teach For America. Haha. Anyhow, William Lukas currently studies at Temple University, and this was his response to the Philadelphia School budget cuts. William puts it perfectly and beautifully:
As of last night, the Philly Public School students will have no arts or music programs, no sports, no nurses, no librarians, no secretaries, no counselors, or any other support support staff come Fall 2013. The School Reform Commission, Superintendent Hite and Mayor Nutter give zero fucks about young people, specifically and explicitly, young people of color. I am embarrassed for having worked in the very building where these draconian decisions are made and interacting with these bureaucrats on several accounts.
These cuts should not be understood as a simple response to the current economic climate or lack of public funding in Philly or PA. These cuts should be understood as crimes committed against young people and workers; they should be understood as forms of structural violence in that these decisions will create incredible social harm in young people’s life choices and eliminate their access to community, recreation, mental and physical health services, mentors, creative outlets, higher education, employment and a meaningful culture of learning – in the one of the most impoverished, incarcerated, racist cities in the US – our nation’s birthplace nonetheless.
Here in Philly and across the US, we stopped giving young people after-school detentions and simply started giving them death sentences.
I hope you got the chills, too.
As immoral and unjust decisions such as the cuts in Philadelphia and school closings in Chicago blatantly are, one of the positive things I’m recognizing is more attention is being geared to what is happening to public education at the K-12 level. More and more people are hearing about what rights are being ripped away from our youth, and it seems to be pissing off all the right people.
Clearly, the resistance to top-down education mandates is building. The movement is propelled by forces far greater than what education journalists and policy leaders understand – widespread grievances about inequity, unfairness, and public disempowerment.
The revolt is happening. The revolt is now.
Related articles & links:
- Philadelphia Student Union (Seriously, if you haven’t checked them out yet, do it right now)
- Philly’s Youth Are Taking Charge of Their Future (readersupportednews.org)
- Philly school leaders to vote on ‘doomsday’ budget (philly.com)
- Thousands walk out in Philadelphia: ‘Save our schools!’ (workers.org)