This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Students eager to bring needed change to the School District held a youth-led Student Summit on Oct. 30 and drew up a platform for reforming the school system.
Nearly 200 students representing 32 district schools gathered at Congregation Rodeph Shalom on N. Broad Street to discuss issues critical to the success of their schools.
Organized by the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) and Citywide Student Government, the summit attracted high school students from both neighborhood and magnet schools.
Students participated in interactive workshops that produced brief position statements on teacher quality, school funding, Corrective Action II schools, and youth organizing.
The platform highlights “the unequal distribution of qualified and experienced teachers,” calling it “the most important equity issue facing our district at this time.” The platform will be posted on the Student Union website and used within PSU meetings and campaigns around school policy.
Rylan Harris, a senior at Philadelphia Military Academy at Leeds who attended the summit with a fellow classmate, said the platform is needed.
“I think that leadership is a big thing that we need to work on in the city,” Harris said.
“The students need to communicate with each other a little bit better, and by just communicating we can eventually build up that confidence, that leadership, that courage that we should all walk around and have daily,” he said.