In the past couple of years, the Philadelphia School District has been notorious for their lack of action in budgeting many schools. Teachers of the district have not been given a new contract for over five years. This serves as a problem because, though a teacher may be furthering their education or simply working in the district for a long period of time, they are not receiving pay raises, and, one could say, being ignored by the district. Many teachers have been adamant and vocal about this situation, but none have taken this issue to a new height as the likes of Mr. Bezanis. He, backed by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, have funded $5000 to put a billboard near the I-95 Southbound Girard Avenue exit. This billboard serves as a constant reminder to the government and officials of the state that Philadelphia school teachers and students have not been valued. The billboard specifically states, “Welcome to Philadelphia, where we don’t value our public school children.” It also has another statement below reading, “Five plus years without a raise for our teachers.”
The images of Mayor Kenney and two other officials have been placed on the billboard. The purpose of the images is to shame the officials that are behind the lack of budgeting for the School District. The lack of effort on the part of the School District makes it difficult for teachers and staff to stay consistently active in their job. Many teachers end up leaving the school. “You keep getting a rotation of staff which is unhealthy for a school. You need a stable workforce,” says Bezanis. At the end of the day, the main goal of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is to spread awareness about this issue. Many teachers are wearing buttons and have yard signs that share the same message as the billboard did. Despite all the setbacks that many teachers have faced in the last couple of years, Mr. Bezanis is hopeful for a new contract and he believes this billboard will invigorate many teachers to stand up for what is fair.
Miten Amin (278)