How Students Are Leading Us: Youth Organizing and the Fight for Public Education in Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s students have long been a major force in the battle for public education, and for the past decade and a half they have fought valiantly against the encroachment of neoliberalism, the idea that market-based logic can solve non-market problems more efficiently and effectively than governmental or public sector agencies. Leading this charge have been two prominent youth organizing groups, the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) and Youth United for Change (YUC). Both PSU and YUC have been at the forefront of recent organizing efforts to protest and propose alternatives to the shuttering of 23 schools, the firing of 3,859 educators and support staff, and the elimination of extracurricular programs and arts education from the public schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

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Jerusha Conner

Sonia Rosen

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Image by Kara Newhouse

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