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We all feel disrespected and know that is totally disconnected from our reality. For some reason, the district was not allowing us to keep the money, and people from were showing up for a photo op. That got everyone talking at lunch time. By the next day we had a plan. I emailed a description of what was going on and described our protest plans.

More importantly, teachers at every lunch period talked it up and reminded each other to wear red. The combination of an email and face to face communication is most effective. The day before the protest, two of us approached the food staff and told them how much we cared for and respected them. We were upset about the situation and were planning a protest, but we would not tell them the details to protect them. We contacted a reporter and offered him an exclusive if he guaranteed a story. The day of the protest, we gathered behind closed doors and discussed exactly what we would do.

Then we walked in together. A teacher took the pictures and emailed them to the reporter.

A solid protest requires trust, knowledge, discussion, agreement, publicity and action. This one took about three days to plan. Looking for ways to bring inspiring projects to your school? Check out this write up from caucus member Tom Hladczuk of Stephen Girard Elementary about a project that involved both art and civic engagement.

The project started When I met Sarah Kodish-Eskind and Jackie Quinn, two artists who run the Art Cart, a mobile art display and selling space that they use to display and sell the work of local artists.

I asked if they would like to work with a school and expand the community concept to working with children and getting their community more engaged with the school. They had been thinking along similar lines, so we set about planning it. We wanted to expand our students' experiences at the school and show the community what they were capable of. The two artists who started Art Cart had this vision as well, independently, and had been doing it to empower local artists. Kristy had the experience of working with the grant before, and doing an engaging art project through PCCY funding.

So we planned it together. We had never done this kind of project at my school before, and it was fantastic! The grant made art classes possible for the students.

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They designed their own personal symbol and used it to make their own pencil cases and posters. They told their story by working together to create, design, write, edit, problem-solve and sew. With the budget crisis looming at our school, we decided to make the project a political one as well. We sent letters stamped with the designs you saw to the local elected officials, and we went on visits to City Council Offices with a parent and student in tow. The purpose the project was use art as a way to engage the community, give children a voice, and show what public schools can accomplish what they do best when not held back and forced to do rote learning and test prep for standardized tests of low-level skills.

As workers go on strike, UK threatens crackdown on labor union powers

If you are inspired by this project, you can support our students by buying a pencil case! If one reads some of the education reformers' reactions to the Vergara decision effectively eliminating teacher tenure in California, one would think that tenure is a way of protecting evil, incompetent teachers from perpetrating malpractice on loads of innocent, unsuspecting students.

Could Reviving the Strike, Revive the Labor Movement?

The truth, however, is that tenure does not guarantee teachers their jobs. It is just a way of affording teachers due process rights so they are not disciplined in an unfair or prejudicial manner. Principals and other administrators have a clearly defined and not-that-difficult process to discipline and even fire teachers if they care to use it. Many experienced teachers will tell you that the protection of tenure is what enables them to advocate strongly for the rights of their students.

Knowing we are protected by tenure rules give us the freedom to fight for the rights of our students in the way they deserve. Bugging the principal, psychologist, and office of special education services enough times to get that student tested might actually get a teacher fired if there were no tenure protections. What about the teacher who calls and reports the abuse of a student by a family member? If the family were angry and powerful enough, that could be a problem for a teacher without tenure. What about test cheating whistle-blowers? In the Philadelphia cheating scandal, some who did not participate in cheating were targeted by cheating principals, but tenure protections prevented these honest teachers from being fired.


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In all these instances, tenure protects both students and teachers—not the bogeyman of the incompetent teacher. Caucus member Luigi Borda is many things. He is an avid runner who has been very involved in local politics as a tireless advocate for our city's children. Luigi has combined these two interests to help make some very powerful statements for the need for full and fair funding for Philadelphia's students. With the end of the year right around the corner, and observations and personnel letters being filed, now is a good time to review:.

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The PFT contract is a detailed and valuable document worth reading in its entirety—but at pages, it can also be useful to have a summary of the most important points! Below are some brief descriptions of certain protections provided by the contract. If your building does not follow these procedures, we encourage you to work with your PFT Building Rep and Regional Rep to address these issues.

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His extremely accessible new book, Strike Back, shows how unionists did exactly that, right here and not so long ago. It was small groups of militant workers who made this explosive growth possible—by defying the law and their union leaders if they even had a union to go out on unsanctioned strikes. The book is loaded with compelling histories, from the most unlikely places and workplaces. Teachers in Utah and New York, sanitation workers in Memphis, and police in New Orleans and Philadelphia not only risked losing their jobs.

They also risked being imprisoned for ignoring court injunctions to return to work, and being banned from ever working in their fields again. Workers who struck in one agency or department—Florida teachers, for instance—would spark the imaginations of others across their state and the country. After laying the groundwork over years of minority-union organizing, an ungovernable force of workers would flash out and shut down a city: Oklahoma City, for instance.

The take-home lesson is straightforward, persuasive, and impossible to ignore. Burns tells how militant members changed the direction of many conservative, Democratic Party-allied unions. One example is the Chicago Teachers Union, which held frequent strikes until the s. Before the strike wave, the s looked bleak. Public workers faced bans on collective bargaining and striking.