40,000 Philadelphians still waiting for local control

At our press conference last week for local control of Philly’s schools, I listened to a Philly parent, Deanna Bell, pictured below. She talked about the fear she felt when she got a call from her six-year-old daughter’s school, saying that her daughter was having an asthma attack, and since the school nurse wasn’t on that day, they couldn’t get access to her inhaler. As a working mom, I thought, “well once we move toward local control, no other mom will have to feel that fear.”

Deanna at City HallLast week, the Philadelphia City Council had the chance to put local control of Philly schools on the ballot in November — and it didn’t even bother to vote on the measure.

I’m stunned. More than 40,000 of us signed the petition supporting control of our schools and several more organized in our communities to show widespread support for this initiative. We had the support of a majority of the Council — so what’s the issue?

I don’t have the answers. But the City Council should. Click here to call City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, the sponsor of the bill, and ask her why local control for Philly schools didn’t come up for a vote — and demand they vote to put it on the ballot in May immediately.

The local control measure would finally give our city a chance to stand up for our kids, to say that Philly wants to take the lead in getting its students the schools they deserve.

The next opportunity we have to put local control on the ballot is tomorrow, when the City Council will be back in session and can vote on the measure. We plan on  packing City Council tomorrow, but can you give Councilwoman Blackwell a call in the mean time?

I was proud to stand with our allies Councilman Wilson Goode, and State Senate candidate Art Haywood, who did affirmed their support for local control. But right now, we need a flood of Philly voters calling in to let the rest of the Council know ignoring the voices of 40,000 people was the wrong move.

Call Councilwoman Blackwell and demand answers. Tell her the voters should decide on local control, not the Council.

Kati Sipp, Director
PA Working Families