Op-Ed: Educational Equity

As a Germantown High Alum, I know our students and teachers deserve so much more.

“DO NOT DRINK,” read the signs taped above the drinking fountains at Germantown High. It felt so strange to me as a student. Why couldn’t we drink from our water fountains or fill up a bottle from our sink? Every day, students went to public schools (in Germantown and across the city) with poor ventilation, failing infrastructure, unsafe drinking water, and pests. And since the shocking closure of Germantown High, school conditions across our city have not improved.

Pennsylvania students and teachers deserve clean and safe classrooms. Last year, a report that looked at lead levels of schools across the country concluded that Pennsylvania deserved an “F” rank for our state policies on lead monitoring and removal. Additionally, a recent study found that 98% of Philly schools tested positive for lead in their drinking water. While small steps have been taken to address this, we have multiple generations of students who have endured toxic environments. These conditions will negatively impact students’ mental and physical abilities for the rest of their lives.

For decades, our government leaders have prioritized spending on state violence over investments in education, and it shows. I have first-hand experience as a student and part-time educator in the Philadelphia School District; it’s time for us to take real steps to address the environmental issues in our schools.

I’m running on a platform that centers community, and that means taking proactive steps to ensure that our schools are fully funded and safe, that our teachers are paid family-sustaining wages, and that we’re investing into green solutions like State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler’s “Solar For Schools” Grant Program.

When I graduated from Germantown High, I never would have believed that our school would be closed only 4 years later due to “budget constraints.” When cuts are on the table, why is it always resources for working-class neighborhoods like ours that go first?

Our communities deserve investment because when we proactively put resources back into our people, we maximize the positive outcomes for our students, teachers, parents, and neighbors. There is amazing work being done at the state and city level, but we have a long way to go. I’m running to ensure that our students get what they deserve. This means real investments in education. This means lead and asbestos-free schools.

For more info, follow Team Andre @andredcarroll + andredcarroll.com 👈

Thoughts? Questions? Please leave them in the comments below. 

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About Andre Carroll 2 Articles
Andre Carroll is a Germantown organizer and servant leader, born and raised in Northwest Philly. As a first-time candidate for State Representative in the 201st District in 2022, he narrowly lost against nine-year incumbent Stephen Kinsey, receiving 43% of the vote and raising more than $95,000 from unions and individuals inspired by his progressive platform. Today, he continues working on community solutions, seeking plans and partnerships to uplift the neighborhood (and the city at large).

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