The healthcare costs that teachers are now required to pay are more substantial than advertised by supporters of the plan. It is not simply a $28-$76 dollar per pay-period decrease because there are co-pays, deductibles, and more. It is possible that a family will have to pay $12,700 per year out-of-pocket under the new plans, essentially reducing teacher salaries even more than they already are.
With this in mind it is quite impressive that others have started to protest in lieu of a teacher strike. On October 10 students from three area high schools - Science Leadership Academy, the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, and Franklin Learning Center - protested outside their building for hours.
The dialog has shifted now to what the teachers and union can do to fight back more seriously. Jerry Jordan, president of the PFT, is attempting to wage a legal battle that will hopefully end on a positive note. There was even talk of a general strike by the other unions in the city - something that hasn't happened in years and was only threatened back in 1981 during the last major teacher strike.
Even Tom Wolf - democratic candidate for governor - has publicly stated that he opposes the existence of the SRC and would fight for its removal if elected. This could be a cornerstone issue in his candidacy.
A lot is going on down there and I support the teachers and the union in this fight. There is a rally planned on October 16 in front of the School District building at 440 North Broad street. I will be there in spirit and await when I can come down to fight with a strike.