Testimony of Robin Lowry to the BOE, February 25, 2021
Good Evening, Robin Lowry Health and Physical Education district teacher since 1994.
Welcome new members. As we work to recover from the pandemic I hope that in complement to addressing Learning Loss you address Play Loss. The science is clear – children learn through play and they’ve all been cooped up in the house with not even enough space to even do jumping jacks. I know because everyday I see them – those who turn their camera on – and implore them to work out – but . . . it ain’t happening! Health and PE requirements have been so reduced over the last 15 years that there are schools all over this district with empty gyms during the school day and elementary schools with no playgrounds I hope that both are priorities as we help students recover. Their Health and Well-being = Health and Physical Education.
Regarding item #14 – Pest Control. You know now there are trust issues in this district. The worry is real – our schools have never been clean let alone equitable. I’m here to say -the first time I have to search or beg for paper towels 0r worse, not find any – to clean spit off the gym floor, or mouse poop off my desk I may walk out. Paper towels are precious in our schools & that’s ridiculous. I say now – facilities have been humiliating to staff and students alike and now you want us to trust that this is a new day. I’m getting my vaccine next week which makes me feel better, the random testing makes me feel better, but I’m still worried about building conditions.
The first time I walk into my PE office and find a glue trap, say – usually under my locker – that needs to be dealt with – I better have a hotline to call. The first time I find no hot water or soap in the girls’ locker room – I better have a hotline. Now that the pressure is on to pay attention to the conditions of schools we will be watching.
WIth my remaining time I ask if you have any follow up questions? As a teacher you can demonstrate you value my input right now by asking me about my testimony, how are my students doing, what was my day like? That is how you build trust. An email or banner that says “We value our teachers” isn’t born out when you treat the retired and tireless teachers of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools as Enemy #1. You should thank them EVERYTIME THEY come with research they spend weeks on to make this district better serve students. But instead you try to hustle them off the Speakers List and drag public meetings out to wear the public down.