Our Priorities

Our City - Our Schools is a call to action from the parents, students, teachers, and advocates on the front lines of public education in Philadelphia.

Our priorities are chosen by the students, parents, and other community members who make up our groups. 

All of our work is grounded in the values of equity and democracy.  Our focus is on supporting and spearheading improvements in educational experience and outcomes for low-income, African American, Latino, Asian, English language learning, and disabled students in our public school system.

The shifting political landscape requires the unity of all stakeholders -- now more than ever -- to ensure that our schools meet the needs of all students, regardless of their geography or background.  Our commitment is to complement the efforts of our institutional leaders and elected officials with the first-hand experience, power, and thought leadership of our communities.

  • If we are to lead the nation in college completion by 2020, we must close the achievement gap between White students and African American and Latino students. Increasingly, communities are reframing the achievement gap as the opportunity gap -- meaning that not every student is provided with an equal opportunity to learn. Students in under-resourced neighborhood schools are most often taught by first-year teachers and endure high rates of teacher turnover, long-term substitutes, and teachers placed outside their subject areas.

  • Our six-year cohort dropout rate of African American males is 43% and that of Latino males is 51%. These numbers are alarming, and more than statistics they represent thousands of young people who will soon be adults in our city. It is critical that all young people receive the supports they need to complete school. Policies such as “zero tolerance” discipline have proven ineffective and have unintended negative consequences on children.

  • Our schools are the foundation of our community, and community members need to be part of bringing about much-needed school improvements. There is a wealth of knowledge and expertise in our communities and schools that often goes untapped. School Advisory Councils give parents, community members, and students a way to collaborate with school staff and to have a voice in decisions.

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