By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As a conference of entrepreneurs interested in investing in education took place inside, protesters gathered in front of the Union League on South Broad Street Monday evening with a word of warning to students, teachers and staff at public schools.
Protesters gathered with signs displaying various messages, summed up by Lisa Haver of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.
“Our schools are not for sale. You may be meeting to talk about how to invest in schools, how to invest in more charter schools, how to sell your technology and software, and we say our schools are not for sale,” Haver said.
Benny Ramos is a student at Kensington Capa, and he took part in some of several skits put together by the number of student groups at the protest. Ramos says class capacity in his school has gone from 30 students up to 50, leaving desks in short supply.
“We don’t hardly have paper, we hardly have utilities. We have some brand new books, then we have some messed up books, and then we don’t have the book that we need,” Ramos said.
Ramos said he had a simple message for Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Tom Corbett.
“I wouldn’t even ask them a question. I would just say shame,” Ramos said.
As school nurse Eileen Duffy tells us, even though there were several different groups protesting, all shared the same message – that the public should have a say in public schools.
“Inside the Union League right now are very wealthy of corporations who are making decisions behind closed doors that have to do with our public institutions. We say our public schools are a public enterprise,” Duffy said.
Many at the demonstration shared the view of this retired teacher, saying the school funding crisis goes against common sense.
“We find money to pay for every little problem all over the world, but we can’t pay for librarians at our high school?”