Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by Dr. William Hite, Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, and Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), announced the launch of ‘Students Speak!’, a video and written essay campaign to encourage Philadelphia public school students to make their voices heard regarding the importance of full and fair school funding. Video and written submissions must complete the following prompt: “Fully fund my education because…”, and can be submitted online at www.studentsspeak.phila.gov or in-person to the Mayor’s Office of Education (Room 115, City Hall).
“The individuals most adversely affected by the lack of full and fair education funding are young Philadelphians, but they rarely have the opportunity to be a part of this discussion. ‘Students Speak!’ allows Philadelphia public school students to tell their fellow students, parents, teachers, school staff and concerned adults why they deserve a fully-funded, high-quality learning experience,” said Mayor Nutter. “I want to encourage our kids to write or create a video essay and make their voices heard and I want to ask Philadelphians to take some time and listen to what our children are saying. I want to thank the Daily News, Newsworks and Philly.com for its support.”
Written essay submissions must be between 250-500 words. Video essays cannot exceed 2 minutes in length and must be uploaded through YouTube onto the Students Speak! website.
The campaign, which runs from April 14 through May 5, will select six winning submissions in total, a video and written submission from each of the following grade categories: elementary school, middle school and high school.
“Students have been disproportionately impacted by these budget cuts,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “It is important that we hear their words and voices about their needs and what they experience each day in classrooms throughout the city. Their eloquence and passion is unmatched.”
Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges from City departments. Winners will be announced on May 8 via www.studentsspeak.phila.gov.
“When it comes to the impact of funding inequity on our city’s classrooms, no one has better insight than Philly’s students,” said PFT president Jerry Jordan. “Education funding is a critical discussion topic, and the voices of our schoolchildren must be part of the conversation.”
Of the six winners, one grand prize winner will receive an Apple Watch. The other five winners will receive two tickets each to the Philadelphia Eagles home opener for the 2015-2016 season. Additionally, the winning written essays will be featured in the Opinion and Editorial section of the Daily News, on www.Philly.com and on the Newsworks Speak Easy website. Winning videos will be posted on www.Philly.com and the Mayor’s Office of Education website (www.phila.gov/education).