According to Jeff Gelles, Philadelphia Inquirer Business Columnist, the Philadelphia public schools are short on money.
‘Imperiled’ is the word used to describe public schools in the area.
Worse, even the money that is there is being distributed unfairly as evidenced by the grade of “D” the Education Law Center's National Report Card on school-funding fairness gave the state of Pennsylvania for how it distributes school funds.
Students rightly feel unfairly treated by the state.
Student’s at Philadelphia’s Central High School are particularly fed up with this seeming lack of interest by politicians in the school’s decay.
Student’s on physics teacher Daniel Ueda’s award winning robotics team wrote up a petition detailing some of the ways the schools were being short changed and what they thought needed to be done to make things right.
Interested parties are asked to sign this petition.
The petition by the RoboLancers claims that the following the unfair distribution of funds has resulted in the following discrepancies:
- Oversized classrooms with as many as 47 students.
- A lack of guidance counselors, nurses, librarians, assistant principals and others.
- Effective, beloved teachers being laid off.
- Teachers forced to teach outside their area.
- Support staff forced to teach and unable to accomplish other duties.
- Classes in auditoriums.
- Elimination of the mentally-gifted programs.
- Insufficient textbooks.
- Inaccessible libraries.
- Loss of several programs of great popularity for particular schools.
To make up for these discrepancies the RoboLancers suggest the following immediate steps be taken in the contract negotiations with the Philadelphia Federation of teachers: here we quote:
- The extension of the school day must occur only if complete freedom is given to teachers and students to participate in extracurricular activities during that extended time;
- STEM robotics funding must be reinstated by the SDP, including support for competitions, training for students and coaches, late night transpasses for students similar to that which is provided to members of sports teams, and weekend building access;
- The incorporation of the benefits of project-based learning activities in any new teacher evaluation system, especially where it affects student achievement that is not measurable on a standardized exam; and
- The accommodation and compensation for robotics coaches, including free use of preparation periods and extracurricular pay commensurate with athletics’ coaches.
RobotsLAB is proud to see these enthsiastic young robotics engineers willing to take a stand and hopes them all the success possible.