Tonya Bah Education

An education system that works for us all

I am proud that my son and daughter attend Philadelphia public schools. Philadelphia should have the best public school system in the country - and it’s up to us to make that happen.

I support full and fair funding of public education.

Our schools and our society are torn apart by racial and economic injustice.  Our students grow up in segregated neighborhoods, in poverty, in families burdened by inadequate healthcare and torn apart by the criminal justice system. The majority of our district’s students are people of color, who face systemic racism, racial bias in school funding, and a disproportionately white teaching force. Every school should promise our students a brighter future.

Our schools must be safe and healthy spaces where students can learn, free from concerns about lead paint, asbestos, mold, or pests. Philadelphia students deserve smaller classes where they can learn as individuals and more funding for classroom resources. They need Special Education, English Language Learner, and Health Services educators who are not overburdened with high caseloads. They need more counselors to help them resolve their problems safely, and more social workers to help them address issues outside of the school. (trauma delivery systems)

Philadelphia’s educators deserve to be celebrated for the work they do for our students every day. I believe that educators need to be treated with respect and have more autonomy over curriculum and policies, which has also been proven to improve student learning outcomes and social-emotional health. I support the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and their fight to improve the working conditions of educators- because educators’ working conditions are our children’s learning conditions.

Every student should feel safe and ready to learn, and every staff member should feel safe and ready to work, regardless of race, gender, immigration status, or sexual orientation.

We must end the school to prison Pipeline. Every decision in the classroom can impact an entire student’s life. Stop arresting students, remove police from schools and replace them with counselors and let’s give each of our youth an opportunity to succeed.

It’s time we started taking a close look at how to better support and fund our schools, not just throw our hands up and give up! Closing our schools is not an option.