5/1/2013 6:00:00 AM Candidates address education issues during forum at PHS
By STEVEN THOMAS Staff Reporter
The city's three mayoral candidates and others outlined their plans to support public education during a candidates' forum last week in the Philadelphia High School Auditorium.
The forum was sponsored by a group of parents in the process of applying for a Philadelphia Chapter of the national organization Parents for Public Schools.
Incumbent Mayor James Young, a Democrat, responded first, saying he would continue to promote local public schools, the community and the workforce.
He recounted how his daughter attended the Philadelphia Public School District, received a good education and now makes a decent salary.
"Failure is not an option," he repeated, noting that everyone should be involved in education. "We have to make sure everything we do is about our children and our community."
Due to his family's success with the school, Young said he would never speak ill of it. He added that even problem children should not be given up on by parents and school officials.
After spending a moment to thank those hosting the forum, Republican Mayoral candidate Roy White said the children were the city's future.
"Children are the future of our society," he said. "We've got to have an educated work force, educated [children] in public schools. That is the key to the answer."
White, the current Ward 2 alderman, said his two sons also graduated from the city school district.
He said support from the community was needed to keep the school going and economic development was necessary to bring in more funds.
"Our base taxes have got to go up to support our schools," he said.
After also thanking the forum hosts, Republican Mayoral candidate Joe Tullos said "high quality public education" was on a list of critical areas of interest he cited at the beginning of his campaign.
Also on that list are public health, safety, responsible spending, and economic growth and development, he said.
"I know that a strong school is vital to a strong community in so many ways," Tullos said, noting that new industries look at a community's education system when deciding whether to move in.
He also recounted how his children went through the Philadelphia Public Schools system and came out properly prepared for collegiate level learning.
Tullos, the current Ward 3 alderman, said he was committed to the school district and asked for the attendees vote.
Candidates for alderman and alderman-at-large also reiterated their support for the school district and the importance of a child's education.
Near the end, moderator Andrea Williams, an anchor for WTOK-TV, asked each candidate if they would be willing to attend a PPS training session to learn more about the school district's student achievement level and school board duties and responsibilities before making their first appointment to the school board.
Each candidate responded with a decisive "Yes."
Joey Kilgore and Chiquita Moore, spokesmen for the parents group, said the forum was a non-partisan, voter-education effort to make public education a priority issue for all voters and candidates in the upcoming election.
A group of parents and grandparents of students in the Philadelphia Public School District held a series of meetings recently to form a PPS chapter here. The non-partisan and non-profit organization promotes and strengthens the public schools by engaging, educating and mobilizing parents, organizers said.
For more information on the forum call Kilgore at 601-656-1881.