Children First’s Report Series on COVID’s Impact on Children – READ THE COUNTY REPORTS HERE

Moving the Ball to the End Zone – Feb 10, 2023


Making the Next Successful Play for Kids 

As our state turns green to cheer on the hometown team for the Super Bowl, it’s hard not to reflect on how crazy it is that the Eagles’ players, who may get battered around by Kansas City, will feel a greater sense of personal safety on game day than kids in Philadelphia feel any day of the week. 

“Our children are afraid to go outside. It’s horrific. It’s heartbreaking. We gotta replace these guns with things for our youth that are productive,” said Ernie Bristow, as she stood with fellow supporters of The Kids’ Campaign’s press conference at Bartram High’s football field. “There used to be more rec centers and now kids have nowhere safe to go.”

Tragically only hours later and ten blocks away, a 13-year-old girl would be struck by a stray bullet while standing in her living room. The terrifying reality that Philly’s young children and teens face every day fuels the Campaigns’ demand that candidates tell voter how they will make the city more  S.E.C.U.R.E  with Safety, Education, Careers, Uplifting Opportunities, Recreation, and a clean Environment.

The growing Kids’ Campaign – with more than 55 organizations and hundreds of adults (join here) – is demanding that the candidates for mayor put the needs of kids top on their list of campaign priorities.

Seven of the announced candidates endorsed The Kids’ Campaign comprehensive agenda:

A simple promise isn’t enough for Ernie or her fellow Kids’ Campaign supporters. “For the candidates who signed into this campaign, we don’t want you to just sign. We’re going to hold you accountable and make sure you have productive things for our youth,” she said.

The Kids’ Campaign is putting the pressure now on candidates to tell us their plans on HOW they’ll deliver on the candidate pledges…how they will deliver great rec centers, parks, and libraries…how they’ll make sure every child has access to high-quality child care, pre-k, and K-12…etc. You can help make kids the #1 issue for every candidate. Sign up here.

Just as Philadelphia leaders are being held accountable for dealing with the reality that our children suffer, the ruling of the Commonwealth Court made it perfectly clear that way the state funds schools is flat out unconstitutional. It powerfully dispels the myths that the problem with our schools are the kids, teachers, or parents.  

Judge Renee Jubilerer’s unequivocal ruling said, “[The state’s] Education Clause was clearly, palpably, and plainly violated because of a failure to provide all students with access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education that will give them a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically.”

A move by Republican leaders in the PA House or Senate to appeal the opinion of this Republican judge will be futile and only extend the years of harm to children. Jubeilier’s ruling makes any assertion that the PA Supreme Court would come to a different conclusion delusional.  

Like the Philly candidate pledges, the ruling is just a starting point. Next comes the actual plans to deliver a “comprehensive, effective, and contemporary” education to every student in the Commonwealth. 

The credit for this victory belongs to our partners at the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center. Now Children First and our partners must lead the charge to turn promises to action. Our kids need leaders who will invest in their needs and champion their futures. It’s time to get to work moving the ball down the field to victory.

Go Birds!

CHILD CARE PROVIDERS – PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY! Waiting lists, open staff positions, children not served…these are critical numbers that the Shapiro Administration needs to know so they can properly fund Pre-K Counts and Head Start in their budget proposal.

“Huge school choice victory!”

Tweet by state representative Seth Grove, Republican Appropriations Committee Chair, who seemed to misunderstand the Commonwealth Court ruling.

Children First and PHMC want to understand why families leave early childhood programs. 

Share your story of how and why you changed early childhood programs, especially if you had to switch programs more than once.  

Participating families will receive an incentive for their time. 

“Gov. Josh Shapiro should reverse the
decision made by his predecessor’s
administration to reopen the troubled
Glen Mills Schools just three years after
it was closed in response to complaints
that students were beaten and abused.”

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial, which
aligns with the Children First statement
in opposition to the reopening of Glen
Mills, a.k.a. Clock Tower Schools