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Students, Staff, Teachers, & Community Members Rally in Harrisburg

Yesterday, hundreds of students, school staff, teachers, parents and community members gathered at the capitol building in Harrisburg to demand that the State Senate prioritize education in their upcoming budget vote. Without additional funding from the state government, public schools in Philadelphia face unprecidented cut-backs. The SRC-approved budget will eliminate arts, music, sports, counselors, support staff, assistant principals and most school nurses. PSU was one of the many groups from across Pennsylvania that decended on Harrisburg to tell our legislators that a quality, well-funded education is a human right.

PSU leader, Nuwar Ahmed, gave the following speech to the crowd in front of the capitol building:

Hi, my name is Nuwar Ahmed. I am a rising senior at Masterman High School and a member of the Philadelphia Student Union.

The school district of Philadelphia is having a major crisis. Because of lack of funding for education, counselors, assistant principals, support staff, noontime aids, cafeteria workers, art, music, and so much more are being cut.

After ONE BILLION DOLLARS had been cut from education in the two previous years and the recent twenty-three school closures have been voted for, we’re already working with so little. The budget cuts are mostly impacting poor black and brown neighborhoods and this is just not fair. For you, Governor Corbett, to deny us the money we DESERVE and NEED is absolutely outrageous.

Governor, you were young once, and I’m sure you’d be devastated as a senior who is preparing to apply to colleges, if you didn’t have a counselor to guide you. I’m sure you’d be devastated if your passion and drive was basketball but it suddenly was cut out of your life. Let’s just say, if you were in our shoes, you’d be devastated knowing your school is turning into a building (with cops and teachers) and nothing more.

If you look at the big picture, you better believe that Philadelphia’s educational system is in the toilet and you’re the one flushing. As one of the two-hundred thousand students in the Philadelphia School District, I can speak for many when I say that receiving a well-funded education is a priority and a human right, not something politicians should be allowed to ignore.

It is not my job to find money for my school district. My job is to go to school, receive a quality education and work my hardest so I can move up in the world. If you’re not doing your job, it’s practically impossible for me to do mine.

I am here to FIGHT for the rights everyone in the school district deserves! I am here because I care about my education and if money is going to determine the quality of my education, then give us the money we need.

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