Eileen Duffey testimony to the SRC – January 21, 2016

Eileen Duffey SRC 1-21-16

Good evening.

My name is Eileen Duffey

I am a 21 year employee of the school district

and a lifelong resident of Philadelphia.

At the December SRC meeting I was treated as if I were a criminal.

On a rainy night I entered the building on 15th street as it was the closest door to my car using my employee ID. I went up to the second floor but where I was prevented from entering the auditorium by a school police officer who stated to me that only those on the speaker list could enter.

That was inaccurate as many of those already in the room were not on the speakers list.

I was told by the officer that he was “just following orders” and I would be allowed to enter once orders were received that space was available.

That sounded reasonable enough.

But it was not true.

I insisted on waiting by the door much to the dismay of the officer.

I counted each person who left the auditorium. In groups of two or three audience members exited the auditorium over the course of an hour. Each time I asked the officer, “May I enter now?” only to be told, “No.” I witnessed 86 people leave the auditorium, most wearing t-shirts identifying them as charter supporters while I was denied entrance.

Outside on the street and downstairs in the atrium dedicated teachers were also denied entrance.

It is not enough that we in Philadelphia have no local control of our schools?

It is not enough that many educators who care are obligated to spend all our free time researching and charting your planned destruction of our public schools?

At last months meeting I witnessed a heightened experience of the lengths you will go to stifle the voice of the Philadelphia public school community and public school educators.

My 4 year record of attending most SRC meetings leaves me skeptical of your concern for the well-being of our public schools.

And you increasingly sink to new lows in your treatment of Philadelphia educators, the very people you need to cooperate with to improve our children’s education.

It is time for you to disband this commission so we Philadelphians can enjoy the same constitutional rights as every other Pennsylvanian: to elect the people who make decisions regarding our public schools and our children’s futures.