As unionized public-school staffers protest the School District of Philadelphia’s failure to assent to the union’s salary and training terms, threatening to strike at the beginning of the school year, school-choice advocates are reminding parents of alternatives.
Bus drivers, custodians, maintenance staff and other workers represented by the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ have authorized a strike that could compromise the resumption of schooling that is scheduled for next Monday. Pro-strike workers insist they are underpaid, noting that cleaners make roughly $16,000 per year at the low end. At the high end, construction inspectors make approximately $70,000.
As the School District of Philadelphia labors to make its digital student-information system accord with expanding progressive concepts of gender, a right-leaning nonprofit is urging officials to refocus on academics.
In 2016, the district adopted a policy allowing students to pursue their “gender identity” and therein defined the term as “a person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth.” The new rule allows students of one biological sex identifying as another to access restrooms, locker rooms, gym classes and athletic programs consistent with the former rather than the latter. In 2020, several school employees reportedly asked Sarah Galbally, the district’s lobbyist, to push for recognizing a broader variety of gender identities in the student tracking system, something that couldn’t be done without tweaking state-education policy.