Following the death of Dr. Constance Clayton, beloved former Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, PFT President Jerry Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA--"Dr. Constance Clayton was the best Superintendent I've ever known, and the students and staff of our school system and our city at-large are better for her service. Dr. Clayton at her core was an educator, a mentor, and one of the staunchest advocates for children that I've met.
"I was always struck by how Dr. Clayton ended every speech she delivered: 'Remember, the children come first.' She lived by those words, and her leadership was defined by that unwavering commitment. This credo was inextricably linked to every action she took as a superintendent.
This afternoon, as part of the Statewide Basic Education Funding Commission hearings seeking to evaluate the current underfunding of Pennsylvania's public schools, PFT President Jerry Jordan offered extensive testimony and research into the urgency of rectifying decades of underfunding. Jordan's testimony focused on the impacts of underfunding, and particularly noted that underfunding schools is a facet of a society that refuses to provide Black and Brown young people with what they deserve to thrive. In Philadelphia, where the students we serve are primarily Black and Brown and experiencing poverty, this crisis is particularly acute. Testifying along with Jordan were AFT Pennsylvania President Arthur Steinberg and several panels of experts.
In his testimony, which is shared below and linked here, Jordan not only outlines specific instances of the impacts of disinvestment, but he offers commonsense, research-based solutions. His testimony is replete with a host of articles by subject matter experts, and weaves together the central, urgent theme: we must provide our young people with resources. And the resources must be rooted in what students need: additional support staff, smaller class sizes, increasing numbers of school counselors, and so much more.
Amidst an ongoing heatwave that has prompted early dismissals of over 1/3 of District schools, PFT President Jerry T. Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA--"The ongoing and worsening impacts of the worldwide climate emergency, coupled with decades of disinvestment in our system of public education, have put an enormous strain on students and staff as they returned to school. This week's unbearable heat wave has prompted the closures of over 1/3 of District buildings, closures that will continue (with additional schools added) through the rest of the week.
On Thursday afternoon, PFT President Jerry Jordan joined a press conference hosted by CeaseFirePA and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon to call for immediate action on urgently needed gun safety legislation.
In addition to Jordan, speakers and partners included:
"Once again, the Republican led Pennsylvania State Senate is not only refusing to address their legally (and morally) mandated responsibility to provide Pennsylvania’s students with a thorough and efficient system of public education, Republican leadership is actively working to dismantle public education.
In response to the deadly mass shooting in Jacksonville, FL, when a white supremacist stole the lives of three Black individuals, PFT President Jerry Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA--"I am enraged and devastated by the deadly act of white supremacy in Jacksonville, Florida, where once again the catastrophic combination of racism and firearms has left a community shattered.
On the finalized Pennsylvania budget, PFT President Jerry T. Jordan issued the following statement:
“We are pleased that the budget is now law and includes additional funding for public education. The misguided push to divert public dollars into private institutions was a distraction that diverts us from our collective responsibility to truly invest in public education. Now the real work begins to once and for all implement a system of school funding that not only meets our moral obligation but also meets the constitutional obligation as set forth in the February court case ruling. It is well past time for Philadelphia’s children to have the resources that students In wealthier, whiter school districts have.
"As such, we are pleased that Governor Shapiro has promised a line-item veto of a deleterious voucher program that would undeniably harm public education. Further, we commend Democrats in both the House and Senate -- both Democratic leadership and Democratic rank and file members-- for holding the line throughout negotiations. Particularly in these last several days, House Democratic leadership has been instrumental in ensuring that a final budget package contains no voucher provisions.
PHILADELPHIA--"Again and again, the devastation wrought by the scourge of gun violence continues to rip families apart and leave communities shattered. As we continue to learn more about last evening's mass shooting in Kingsessing, my heart just breaks for the now-reported five individuals whose lives were stolen from them and for their families and loved ones whose lives will never be the same. And I am so sorry for the two individuals wounded in this deadly mass shooting. Their lives, too, will be forever impacted by this devastating tragedy.
Following the House Rules Committee unequivocal rejection of the voucher scheme, PFT President Jerry T. Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA--"This afternoon, the Pennsylvania House Rules Committee led with courage and conviction and unequivocally rejected a detrimental voucher scheme that has no place in our great commonwealth. I thank each Democratic member of the committee and Democratic leadership team who took a strong stand in defense of one of the bedrocks of our society: public education.