Robin Lowry SRC testimony transcript – August 18, 2016


Robin Lowry
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I am here to speak against the ideological war Bill Green, Sylvia Simms and Quibilia Divine continue to wage against public school teachers and unionized workers. In a video of a parents’ meeting they disrespected public school teachers by suggesting the PFT discourages us from working past dismissal time.  Bill, you said the “culture has to change” and we need to get rid of “these people”  Who are they?  Not the teachers I know.  In 23 years I’ve never seen or heard of a rep saying that.  You also encouraged class divisions by suggesting middle class parents are against the Universal Application, another tool in your political agenda to shuffle students into charters and weaken neighborhood schools.

If you wanted to create the best possible schools for all Philly students you wouldn’t have to get parents into a room and brainwash them with stories about how awful teachers are.  If the tactics are tall-tale telling, faction-building such as when Wister parents were pitted against each other, and conflicts of interest where you draw salaries and financial gain from the agencies who benefit from the tall tales, then the game isn’t education it’s politics and economics.

A great school system shouldn’t be based on competition. Competition is the myth money makers create to sell products. Their product isn’t empirically better, but rather they control the dialogue, the airwaves, the advertising agencies to sell the idea of that product.  If competition is the best way to make a great School System as reformers propose, then why was no help given to Wister or Simon Gratz or other schools a charter has its sites on, to help us compete against the charter Machine?

More myths from Bill – a young teacher gets her joy “beaten out of her” you imply, by the PFT. Rather, it is you reformers across the country who peddle in disrespect, remove resources (except for testing materials) you have a natural fear of teachers creativity, autonomy, flexibility, and I think on some level you are envious of the joy kids and teachers feel when they are allowed to create a learning community.  But you destabilize our communities – like at Wister.I could cry right now because you are trying to beat my love of teaching out of me – why?  I don’t know.  Because I make a decent wage and benefits? Because I’m a public employee? Because you can?

And Bill Green, you shared your daughter’s new career as a teacher?  How long does she plan on teaching?  Will she be able to afford to buy a house and have a family on her salary? Does she have good health coverage Dad? She’s in NOLA, a fully charterized school district.  Let’s check in in 5 years and see where she is.  How touching that she called crying that first day about how she loved her job.  Great.  I’m crying now too, after 23 years because I miss my Wister students and my Wister School. You see, we all quote – “love the babies” even when they become teenagers.  That’s why we are teachers.  And although you encouraged those parents to support their new teachers, it seems your message is that after that first year, treat them like an inconvenient leech.