Barbara Dowdall’s testimony transcript at the March 23, 2017 SRC meeting.

Barbara Dowdall pic 3-23-17
Click the picture to view video of Barbara’s testimony.

Good afternoon. I am Barbara McDowell Dowdall, a retired teacher/department head with the School District of Philadelphia, who accompanied students from Lankenau Motivation and Randolph Career Tech High Schools to Harrisburg to advocate for funding and arranged for students from Dobbins Career Tech to journey a shorter distance to a rally at City Hall for the same purpose. In retirement I am a member of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools or APPS.

I am here today to encourage members of the School Reform Commission and Superintendent Hite to create your own advocacy avenues. Commissioners in the past and today have cited budget constraints as reasons for closing schools and libraries (were librarians unintentionally omitted from the current teacher/nurse/counselor ad appeal?), and cancelling their collective bargaining contract with the PFT. Just last week spokesperson Lee Whack iterated that “we must remain mindful of the funding limits we have been given by city and state funders, and those limits do not include an additional $400 million to meet what is demanded by PFT leadership.” “Wanted: 1,000 Phila. Teachers,” by Kristen A. Graham The Inquirer {Side note: PFT leadership is not apart from but was elected by members of the union}

But here is the good news: Local organizations have provided the research and action plans you need to take to those elected officials who appointed/approved/and/or hired you as powerful arguments for the restoration of, and increase in, funding that would meet the actual needs of our students in the Philadelphia public schools.

Powerful data from the Public Interest Law Center and published in our local press makes clear that the intersection of poverty and race in school districts has been the undisputed “guarantee” of underfunding and thus increased underachievement. And not just in Philadelphia! Though you cannot, of course, be a participant in the lawsuit, you are free to use its data to seek justice from those who have entrusted management of our district to your care.

School Funding Lawsuit | Public Interest Law Center

2017 Education Briefing Online | Public Interest Law Center

The Cost of Adequate Education Funding: An Updated Report | Public Interest Law Center

The Campaign for Fair Education Funding Resources

New Education Report Slams Pennsylvania School Funding | Philadelphia Tribune

For assistance in your work to inform and organize students and their families to advocate for themselves, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) and The Campaign for Fair Education Funding are there to assist. (fairfundingpa.org)  You each were given last week a post card (already stamped for your convenience) that, if two of which were provided to every student in our district (one for state rep, one for state senator), imagine the impact! For help in providing legislative appointments and transportation, suggest that families contact Tomea (215-667-9421) Tomeas@pccy.org

We’re ready to get on the bus with you.


Barbara’s testimony was quoted in the Inquirer report on the SRC meeting.

Split SRC approves plan to spend $2.9 billion in 2017-18 – March 23, 2017