By Carvella Moniaga and Daniel Ting
We are writing this letter to address the issues we intend to send to Jordan Harris, our state representative. We want to focus on the issues of the economy, inflation and public school funding in Philadelphia. As students, we are concerned with the state of our school, as well as others within the city. Old school buildings infested with asbestos within the walls, and peeling paint in every room, are definitely not places where students should learn. Additionally, we believe that the economy involves many important issues in Pennsylvania. The inflation we have been experiencing, and the many years with our low minimum wage, are two things that need to be addressed. We hope that in Mr. Harris’s role as our state representative, he uses his voice to represent ours. We ask that he advocate and take action for Philadelphia public school funding, rising inflation and the minimum wage.
At our school, we have had multiple occasions of stairway closures, ceiling tiles falling and boiling-hot room temperatures. Things like this shouldn’t happen this often, but because it does, our student body has gotten used to peeling paint and bad heating systems. Our Philadelphia students are not learning in safe environments and it’s time that something is done about it. In our research, we looked at HB 1878. We found that it only prevents private and charter schools from discriminating against LGBTQ+ students. It has nothing to do with school funding. Therefore, we would like a bill to address the current state of our schools. We need more funding, especially in the maintenance of school grounds because our school is falling apart. Asbestos is a major problem in this state and especially in the city of Philadelphia. In order to provide Philly students with the learning environment they deserve, a bill needs to be introduced that directly involves funding for the renovation and rebuilding of public school buildings.
In our research of bills relating to public schools, we also came across bills on cannabis regulation. We admire and respect the work that he has put into decriminalizing marijuana and the Clean Slate Act. We understand the impact that a criminal record can have on a person’s reputation and ability to earn a job, and also see how the Clean Slate Act would bring people
back into the workforce. The descriptions of HB 2050 have outlined a bill that we agree will strengthen the workforce and give people the opportunity to have a life after serving jail time.
We have also researched further into a specific bill relating to wages, HB 345. HB 345 is a good first step to help increase wages and protect workers’ rights, but Daniel personally believes that within this modern economy, $15 per hour should be instituted within the next 1 or 2 years, not in the next 5 years. Daniel also wants more laws addressing inflation in order to help low-income communities. Due to the rising cost of eggs, Daniel can bake only 1 batch of cookies instead of his usual 2 batches. We believe that a limit to the rising costs should be instituted within the next year or so to help out the communities within our city.
In all, we want more school funding in the city of Philadelphia to help prevent deadly accidents from affecting our children. We need renovations for our schools to give students a safer and more productive place to learn. We also want certain amendments to address the rising inflation in Pennsylvania. We want workers to obtain a livable wage in today’s economy and help battle the outrageous costs of normal everyday goods. We look forward to seeing Mr. Harris’s work in the future. ••
Carvella Moniaga and Daniel Ting are students at Masterman High School.