Outraged by the $1 BILLION cut in the state budget that hit our schools in 2011, a group of Pittsburgh Public School parents started to organize advocacy efforts aimed at the state budget late that year. With the Governor’s announcement in early 2012 that he proposed cutting an additional $100 MILLION, that initial group quickly grew into a region-wide movement as folks from across Southwest PA joined together to stop this attack on public education. We are committed to great public schools for all students, with adequate, equitable, and sustainable public funding. We welcome you to join us.
With 125 school districts in our region, we have many excellent public schools as well as those struggling with years of under-funding. The poorest districts have been hit the hardest and many of us have lost teachers, librarians, music, art, custodians, tutoring programs, gifted and special ed programs, text book and classroom supply budgets, transportation, sports, and even Kindergarten. To compensate, many districts in Southwest PA are being forced to raise local property taxes (a third of those in Allegheny County alone did so in 2012).
As we have worked together, our grassroots movement has connected with others across the state and across the country and we have learned that this is really a national fight. The forces that threaten our schools include corporate-style reformers seeking to impose an inappropriate and downright harmful agenda of privatization, competition, choice, and school closure. These self-styled reformers include a large swath of the political right and left in this country, and have been backed by some of the deepest pockets on the planet, both individuals and foundations. Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, this “reform” movement peddles a compelling narrative about “failing public schools” that has undermined the public’s confidence in one of the pillars of our democracy. And it has generated devastating public policies at both the state and federal level: creating a culture of high-stakes testing, teaching to the test, cheating scandals, drastically narrowed focus to just reading and math, the closing of crucial neighborhood schools, vilification of our teachers, draining of resources from the poorest districts, and giving away piles of public, tax-payer dollars to private hands.
These policies have prevented desperately needed, honest debate about the real issues confronting our schools such as poverty, discipline, and meaningful curriculum reform. Please join us to fight this terrible attack on our most precious resource: our children’s future.
This site is written and maintained by Jessie B. Ramey, Ph.D., a parent of two Pittsburgh Public School students. She is a historian of working families and U.S. social policy and an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in Women’s Studies and History at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Social History, the Journal of Family History, the Huffington Post, and AlterNet.org, among others, and she has twice been recognized by the White House with invitations to meet with the President’s senior policy advisors. Her new book is Child Care in Black and White: Working Parents and the History of Orphanages.
To contact Yinzercation, please fill out the form below: