City’s Largest Union Endorses Mayor Nutter
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (above) today received the Philadelphia Federation of Teacher’s endorsement (photo: Matt Petrillo).
Mayor Michael Nutter today said public safety and education are his two biggest priorities in making a productive city, and Philly’s largest union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, supported his claim by endorsing him today for another term as mayor.
Nutter “is committed to making our schools safe. He has championed programs to improve graduation rates and has fought consistently for full and equitable funding of our public schools,” says Jerry Jordan, President of the 17,000 member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Mayor Nutter said he appreciates the support and will continue to “make even more strides in the area of educating our children.” However, the city’s public high school graduation rates have stayed about the same for the past four years at 56%. Currently, less than 40% of high school students enter college directly after graduation, compared with 70% nationally. And the number of schools that made “Adequate Yearly Progress” also remained about the same, about 43% in the past four years, except in 2010 where it jumped to 53%.
Nonetheless, education is changing in Philadelphia. The city’s public schools are struggling to maintain its monopoly, largely due to an increasing presence of charter schools. Enrollment in Philly’s public schools has dropped from 200,000 in 2001 to about 154,000 today, meanwhile, enrollment in charter schools has skyrocketed from 12,000 in 2001 to 44,000 today, according to a report released by the Pew Charitable Trust.
As charters continue to replace public schools, the power of the PFT has been weakening. It’s already lost thousands of members, however is putting pressure on Nutter, hoping he protects its interests as the battle of charter vs. public schools continues.
But both public school leaders and Mayor Nutter are against Governor Tom Corbett’s education cuts. PFT President Jerry Jordan is among thousands of others traveling to Harrisburg tomorrow to protest against Governor Corbett’s proposed $1.2 billion cut from primary and secondary education. Late last month, the state’s education chief backed up the cuts.