Elected School Board

The Problem

  • Philadelphia’s board of education does not reflect the essential stakeholder groups that are most impacted by the board’s decisions – namely, students, current teachers, and parents of students attending standard Philadelphia public schools.
  • The board of education’s makeup reflects values that put class and educational privilege before the real, lived experiences of the students, teachers, and parents that must daily confront the consequences of structural underfunding and budget cuts.  
  • Philadelphia’s board of education was not elected by the residents of Philadelphia, but rather appointed by the city’s Mayor. As such, the board members can be influenced by the political interests of the mayor they serve or risk losing their positions. As appointees, they are less objective and may not center the interests of Philadelphia’s children, parents, educators, and school staff.
  • Further, as appointees, board members are not accountable to the public but rather only to the mayor. We need a school board that answers directly to those who work and learn in schools.
  • Schoolchildren, educators, and school staff face widespread environmental hazards in Philadelphia district schools and have no direct control over how to fix the schools they must spend time in. Children and adults are exposed to conditions that cause serious health issues and disrupt learning and teaching. Those closest to the problems who need to live with the consequences of them have no control over their own well-being while in school.

Our Solutions & City Council Actions

  • Create a democratically elected school board with taxation power and publicly funded elections that are open to all Philadelphians, regardless of documentation status.
    • This board must reflect the values of those who work and attend our Philadelphia schools and honor the needs and desires of Philadelphia’s many diverse communities by engaging in ongoing conversation with school-based leaders.
  • Dismantle the mayoral appointed Board of Education in the City of Philadelphia.
  • Create a process that allows for students, educators, staff, and parents currently involved in Philadelphia’s public schools to be nominated for the Board of Education and eligible to serve on it.

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