On October 6, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission made the abrupt announcement that they were cancelling their contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the union representing educators in Philly’s public schools. Starting in December, teachers will be required to pay for a portion of their own health care, a sudden change that will reduce take-home pay by up to $140 a month. The PRC claims that these cuts are a necessary last resort to fill massive funding gaps in Philly schools, but lots of people aren’t buying that line.
Here’s where it gets good: state law severely restricts the right to strike for members of the PFT – teachers who do choose to strike risk losing their teaching licenses. So when the news broke on Monday, it was Philadelphia students who immediately jumped into action.
Knowing that going on strike would be a huge risk for their teachers, hundreds of kids decided to go on strike on their behalf.
CAPA Protesters: "I'm down on my knees, begging you please, no cuts!" pic.twitter.com/OUyfKKUHPd
— Flood the Drummer (@floodthedrummer) October 8, 2014
Students from Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) led a particularly rousing demonstration.
— Fight for Philly (@fightforphilly) October 8, 2014
— Media Mobilizing (@mediamobilizing) October 8, 2014
And students from the Science Leadership Academy turned out, too.
— Larissa Pahomov (@Lpahomov) October 8, 2014
There is literally nothing better than seeing teenagers risk disciplinary action and even arrest standing up for what they believe in. Do yourself a favor and check out the full Storify here. Thanks to Billy Penn for collecting these incredible photos and tweets.
Headline photo by Samantha Madera/AL DÍA News Media.