I went to a teacher’s union rally!

My mother would be so proud.

I headed into Philadelphia for a day or two to visit my friend Emily. I’ve visited before and LOVE the city. She told me about her plans to go support the PFT (Phildelphia Federation of Teachers). The SRC (School Reform Commission), which was put into place a bit over 10 years ago, is in charge of the budgeting and structuring of the Philly school district. They called a meeting less than a day before, and gave only a 4 hour window to have people sign up to speak. I was told this rally was very small, since not a lot of time was given for the public to mobilize.

This blog was not created for political ponderings, so I’m choosing not give my whole view of the matter and instead focus on describing the scene. The only thing I will ask, however, is that if you are not a fan of unions to please make sure you understand the issues that teacher’s unions fight back over before simply ascribing them all to “greedy teachers who want more money.” When a teacher’s union is in an uproar, it is very rarely about “not getting paid enough,” but rather one of a myriad of issues that directly affects their livelihood and effectiveness in the classroom. I remember last year, when the Chicago teacher’s union was striking about how their yearly evaluations were going to be largely based on test scores, I read so many articles with comments on the bottom about how teachers were whining about not getting paid enough. It was like these commenters didn’t even read the article. I respect other peoples’ opinions by doing my best to understand the issues they care about. All I’m asking is that you learn about what the real cause of a strike and/or rally is about, and then form an opinion based on that.

This past Thursday, the SRC was meeting to rule on three matters. All of these issues were negotiated in their last contract, so by voting against these things, the SRC was essentially breaking a binding contract. They wanted to:

1. Replace some laid-off school nurses with RNs who did not hold a school nursing certification.
2. Hire back some laid-off teachers, but not based on experience.
3. Stop pay step increases based on years served.

They voted in favor of all three issues.

Luckily, however, they were able to reallocate enough funds to hire back many of the school councelors, secretaries, and assistant principals that were pink slipped at the end of the last school year due to money shortage. Can you imagine a school without any of these important staff?!!

Here’s a picture of the rally.

teacher rally

Several videos were passed around facebook of the rally, but I can’t get them to post on here. Hopefully one day I’ll figure it out!

Other notable firsts:

* I had never worn Dr. Scholl’s inserts. Ahhhhhhh!

* I had never played the game Catch Phrase.

* I had never drunk gluten free beer (it was OK!)

* I had never driven in Philly (not as scary as I thought).

* I had never taken the subway in Philly

* I had never learned about accent nails (painting your ring finger nails differently from the rest of your nails)

* I had never created a stuffed chicken recipe. I made this up for Kristen and Mike’s dinner on Monday. It got rave reviews! Hooray. (No, I didn’t taste it…I ate a veggie burger! But I was very proud of making something good that I couldn’t actually taste.)

stuffed chicken

* I had never seen a naked 80 year old woman before. I saw three at the gym that we went to in Philly. Oh wow.

* I had never attempted to syphon gas. Here are my parents trying to help me get a free tank of gas (mom filled up the tank of the Focus, even though it’s being sold tomorrow). It didn’t work….the tube didn’t reach far enough down into the gas tank!

syphoning

* I had never figured out a way to be able to allow viewers to sign up for e-mail notifications for this blog! Click over on the right hand side of your screen and you won’t have to worry about missing my facebook posts!!

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