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National Day of Action to Reclaim Public Education

Last week on Monday, December 9th, the Philadelphia Student Union participated in a National Day of Action to Reclaim Public Education. The Reclaim Public Education platform has been endorsed by over 60 organizations nationwide, including organizations here in Philly such as the Philadelphia Student Union, Youth United for Change, Action United, PCAPS and the PFT.

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PSU Leader, Devonne Fisher, being interviewed by CBS.

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The crowd outside Governor Corbett’s office in Philadelphia.

The rally began at Governor Corbett’s office in Philadelphia. Governor Corbett has cut over $1 billion from public education in the past two years. Next the march headed to Loop Capital. Loop Capital profited from many of the school closing in Chicago, where 54 schools were closed this past year as part of the largest school closings effort in the nation. We rallied at Loop Capital to show solidarity with Chicago.

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Marching from Governor Corbett’s office to Loop Capital.

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PSU members outside of Loop Capital in Philadelphia.

Our city leaders continue to close record numbers of schools in the Black and Latino communities, crush democracy by refusing to permit a reforms like elected representative school boards in many cities, impose draconian budget cuts while simultaneously engaging in terrible business deals with the very banks and financial institutions who put our economy in a tailspin in the first place, and literally mortgaging away the future of our children.

The impact of this National Day of Action was captured in this infographic:

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PSU Leader, Devonne Fisher, gave a speech at the event. It is reprinted below:

Hello, my name is Devonne Fisher, I am a Senior at South Philadelphia High School and a leader with the Philadelphia Student Union. Last year my school was one of 24 schools closed in Philadelphia. I went to Bok Technical High School and since then, it’s been tough for me as a student.

Along with my school being closed, this year’s budget cuts have been damaging to my education and my future. That is why I’m fighting to make sure that the governor funds ALL of our schools!

At Bok, when we found out our school was closing, the students and staff felt angry. I also felt sad because I lost some of my CTE classes. This would have been a great opportunity for me to experience and learn new things.

Because my school was closed, it will be harder for me to get into college because colleges may not have the information about the classes I took in my old school. No pictures taken over the summertime at Bok will be in the year book for South Philadelphia High School, and students from Bok won’t be able to graduate in our school’s original graduation uniforms and school colors.

All of the students at South Philadelphia High School are getting used to new students and new teachers. I don’t have teachers who can write college recommendations for me because they have only known me for a year and are still getting to know all the new students. This is not right!

The students in Philadelphia are fighting so no more budget cuts and school closures will happen in the future. We’re fighting so our younger brothers and sisters won’t have to! Last year, students from the Philadelphia Student Union, Youth United for Change, and others from across the city organized a walkout of thousands of students. And we’ll keep fighting until our schools stay open and our schools are fully funded!

Today, Philadelphia students, teachers, and parents stand in solidarity with the students of Chicago who are also facing budget cuts. Last year they had 54 of their schools closed down. That was the largest number of schools closed at one time in the history of the United States! That is not right! Loop Capital played a role in those closures in Chicago. The deals Loop Capital made with the banks and the city of Chicago led to 54 schools closing, and thousands of students having their educations affected and futures possibly destroyed.

Schools are places to go and learn, and for youth to start their future. We are going to fight, and keep fighting in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and all over the country!

No More School Closures!

Fund Our Schools!

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