As across the country we move in colorful and numbered steps into a semi-locked down state, protesters have taken to Philly’s streets, as they have elsewhere, in the name of social justice, or, if you will, a level playing field, but where to begin?

For Philadelphia City Council members, it starts with its $25 million, pulled from the city’s recession reserve fund, “New Normal Budget Act,” coupled with a chart.  The “Problem” boxes list

  • Health disparity
  • Access to fresh, affordable food
  • Stable, affordable housing
  • Poverty/income
  • Education & jobs
  • Police accountability

Six problems sharing $25 million, with education concerns lumped in with jobs, this despite the sobering news from Philadelphia School District CFO Uri Monson that it’s projected to face a $1 billion deficit by fiscal year 2025.

The bottom half of the chart offers up “Solutions.” Of note, however: The only time education is mentioned is: “Adult education in every neighborhood.”

Period. That’s it! (I’m sure there’s more somewhere or will be, but for now, as said, that’s it.)

Couple that with this from a recent Philadelphia Federation of Teachers survey of its 13,000 members regarding their biggest concerns about reopening schools in the fall:

  • A “recurring theme” was, “If school facilities aren’t in better condition, I’m not coming back.”
  • Said one teacher, “I know we can’t stay home forever, but our schools are woefully under-prepared–in many respects, through no fault of their own–to deal with the challenges ahead, and sacrificing actual human lives because people are getting antsy at home is something I won’t personally be a part of.”
  • Another oft-heard comment: “The windows barely open to allow appropriate ventilation.”
  • Faucets, too, came up, as in “To use the sinks in the bathroom, one must hold the faucet on with one hand, making it impossible to thoroughly wash hands.”
  • Also big were bathroom faucets that don’t work at all and the constant lack of soap…

And so, as you consider the thousands of protesters praying for change, I’ll leave with you the education comments made by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a June 7 Face the Nation interview:

“… I come from a family where my grandfather managed as a sharecropper’s son to get educated in Alabama in the 1920s. Education was always for us a way to break through the barriers of prejudice, to make sure that my parents used to say, make sure you have all of the armor you need to move forward. And I know that an education is not a shield against prejudice, but it gives people a fighting chance. And when I look at what has happened, particularly the poor kids and minority kids in our country, they really don’t have that shot at a high-quality education. I can honestly now look at your zip code and tell whether you’re gonna get a good education…”

With hopes and prayers, Carol