What's POWER up to on Education?

People laughed in worship on Sunday, when Adam suggested “until POWER solves all the problems with the Philly schools, you can continue through me and the church office to make donations to the McCall School, our partner local grade school.”

Michael quickly added a quip, “When POWER gets the schools fixed, or when Jesus comes back, whichever comes first.”

POWER does have big goals and some real work to do on the education crisis our schools are facing. While the Philadelphia school district faces a whole host of challenges, POWER’s analysis is that none of the rest of them can get attended to until the issue of sufficient funding has been taken care of. Therefore, POWER’s education organizing is concentrating on a creating a state coalition to make a full and fair funding formula central in upcoming elections.

That’s a big goal that involves a number of different strategies, tasks and tacks. But in a sort of one day at a time breaking down of big tasks into manageable steps, here’s the first two. Old First’s Local Organizing Committee will be discussing them this Sunday at 10:30 am, at the west end of the upper narthex. Please join us to find out more and to get further involved.

1) HOUSE MEETINGS — to be accomplished in October on “why the scarcity myth in Philly and PA just isn’t true?” Mike W. and Steve and Beth and Karen and I were at the training.

Basically, people from our community will be hosting house meetings and inviting others to learn how this scarcity myth is used to make excuses when politicians tell us there’s no money for well-paying jobs or schools that teach our children (and fairly pay teachers and other educational workers).

The format of the meetings is simple. There a mini-documentary on “the myth of scarcity” in Philly and PA. It’s only about 5 minutes long.

And then those present will be invited into a discussion around two questions:

~ How do the effects of this “scarcity myth” affect you, your neighborhood, your family?
~ What does our faith tradition (or “your values” if non-religious folk are also present) say about a situation like this.

The hosts will be taking notes on people’s responses as this is information for participants and also for POWER as it understands people’s experience better. At the end, you will be told about and invited to other possible ways you can be involved in jobs and education.

2) Old First will host the POWER’s Education training session on Sunday, 11.10 from 2 to 6 p.m. in our social hall. It will be a teach-in on education (and its crisis) in the state of PA.

We want a good group of Old Firsters there, both as hosts and as learners. Mike W. promised 25 last night.

The session will bring in experts from some of the research and advocacy groups working on this issue to offer all the basics of the current crisis and the politics of change, including:

~ the state and city politics of this situation,
~ the upcoming elections, and who’s vulnerable to being influenced;
~ when and Philly voters have the most sway
~ what a fair and full funding formula is;
~ what strategies we can use to make it central in the media coverage and elections themselves.

Our children are two important not to fight for…