July 9, 2018 - Sylvia P. Simms' Testimony Before the Philadelphia Board of Education - Educational Opportunities for FamiliesEducational Opportunities for Families

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July 9, 2018 – Sylvia P. Simms’ Testimony Before the Philadelphia Board of Education

Good evening School Board Members, Dr. Hite, families, students and staff. My name is Sylvia P. Simms and I am the Executive Director of Educational Opportunities for Families (EOF). 

The School District of Philadelphia’s vision is for all children to have access to a great school, close to where they live. Unfortunately, where I live in North Philly there is not even a good school (never mind, great). There is nothing but FAILING schools for children in my community. The District’s schools have been failing our families for generations. Many of the people working in these schools DO NOT respect or want to partner with the families and/or members of the community…and this has to and will stop.

When families call or come to see me they are always telling me how administrators are disrespecting them. The District (including every member of the new Board, Dr. Hite and even the Mayor) and school staff must remember that parents and families are your customers and, if the District does not treat folks right, we will seek out better options for our children’s education.

Too often, those who have had opportunities handed to them in life are the folks actively working to prevent others from accessing those same opportunities. They seem to think that the rich and educated always need more to do more, while the poor and uneducated can always do more with less. If poor and uneducated people could do more with less, there would be no more poor and uneducated people. Uneducated people are not uneducated because they choose to be. They are uneducated because of a public education system that does not work and the folks who protect that broken system because they are afraid to stand up to the powers that be to make a change. 

There is too much unequal treatment in the School District of Philadelphia and the children stuck in failing schools are the victims. If only a handful of students could read or do math in the neighborhood schools located in the rich and white parts of Philadelphia, there would be more public outcry about student performance. But the District’s lowest performing schools are not in the rich, white parts of the City…they are in my community and no one seems to care about our kids. WE are tired of being treated unfairly and WE need to know what YOU plan to do about a broken education system that creates “Haves and the Have Nots.” WE want and deserve better and MORE. WE will be watching and holding ALL adults accountable for OUR students’ success…NO MORE WAITING!!!

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