Philadelphia’s public school teachers have been fighting for a fair contract for far too long. I stand in solidarity with them.
While teachers work without a contract, we are misallocating enormous sums to keep thousands of people in jail who aren’t violent criminals or serious repeat offenders. It costs $40,000 a year per inmate. That’s nearly a starting teacher’s salary.
The city also paid out $12.8 million in lawsuit settlements for police misconduct in 2016 — a fairly typical year. If not for these payouts, we could hire well over 200 more teachers, or raise pay and benefits to retain the ones we have.
If our justice system in Philadelphia didn't hold thousands of in jail solely because they cannot afford bail while awaiting trial, we might well be able to reach a contract with our public school teachers.
We’re driving some of our best teachers away by depriving them the security of a fair contract, and packing our kids into overcrowded classrooms. At the same time we waste millions on over-imprisonment. Better schools lead to reduced crime, a safer city, and a stronger tax base to support even better schools.
Teachers are some of the most overworked and underpaid public servants in our community. They hold our children’s future in their hands. As a product of public schools, I support our teachers demanding an equitable contract.