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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Has PSU been successful in addressing the drop-out crisis in Philadelphia public schools?

From 1995-2008 the drop-out rate among members of the Philadelphia Student Union was .06% compared to the district’s rate of about 50%.

2. Does PSU improve student achievement?

Based on member surveys, 95% report that being part of PSU improves their desire to go to school and therefore their attendance. The same percentage report that their grades have improved overall since they became members. Additionally, PSU designed Student Success Centers and organized to pressure the District to implement them. Student Success Centers, which exist in 10 Philadelphia public high schools, provide students with extra resources to support them in getting to college.

3. How many members are in PSU?

Currently PSU has 100 core members and 300 total members at 6 schools.

4. Is PSU open to any student or just the straight-A students?

Our weekly chapter meetings and citywide Saturday meetings are open to any public school student in Philadelphia. Grades are not a prerequisite for becoming a member of PSU, although members are actively encouraged to reclaim their education.

5. What kind of benefits does PSU offer its members?

PSU offers academic support in the form of tutoring in all major subjects, as well as assistance with college access through workshops that help students plan ahead in each year of high school, write their college essays, and look for scholarships. We offer mentoring groups for young men (BRO’s) and young women (Soul Sistas), and we also have a youth-run monthly open mic where members and others can express themselves and showcase their talent. PSU has our own youth run radio show on WPEB 88.1 FM called “OnBlast”. Members who are interested in taking part in the show receive all of the training in interviewing and audio engineering they need to run the show. Additionally PSU members enjoy a fall and spring leadership retreat that takes place outside the city, as well as trips to conferences, and to visit other youth organizations.

6. Who funds PSU?

PSU staff write grants to local and regional funders who fund youth organizing work across the country. The bulk of our money comes from foundations and some comes from individual donors. We receive no funding from the School District or any individuals or entities who are seeking influence over our work.

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