Submit an ItAG Proposal by December 1st!

Interested in starting a conversation with colleagues about a social justice topic in education that relates to your practice?  Submit a proposal to facilitate an Inquiry to Action Group.  ItAGs are 6 — 8 week spaces for educators from across the city to learn and take action around a theme.  All are welcome to facilitate.  Complete this form by December 1st to propose an ItAG for 2016.  Questions? Contact us at

The WE Convention on Nov 14th: Organizing Skills, Union Lessons, and Announcing the 2016 Election Slate and Platform!


Without a doubt, this is probably the most exciting time in WE’s brief history:

  • In September WE announced its Leadership Bid and Listening Campaign; and have been covered by most major papers in the city. (The Notebook here and hereThe Tribune here and hereThe Daily NewsCity PaperRaging Chicken Press here and here).
  • Through the listening campaign, the Caucus has heard from educators from every part of the city about what they love about their jobs, the obstacles they face, and their ideas for how we can strengthen our union.
  • All that data is currently being compiled into a platform that truly represents the democratic power of educators in Philadelphia.

And on November 14th, The Caucus of Working Educators will host its Annual Convention. Every educator and education advocate is invited to join us for a day of skill-building, workshops from education and union experts from across the country, and…kicking off the official 2016 election platform and slate!

The 2nd Annual WE Convention
November 14, 2015 at 9:30am – 3:30pm
Old First Reformed UCC
151 N 4 St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Lunch, childcare, and parking provided free of charge.

Please RSVP through the website or on facebook.


WE are working to build a member-driven, democratic union that can defend and transform public education– but your ideas and passion are needed to make it possible. Join for the whole day or any part of it (make sure you get some lunch, too). Even if you can’t make it, please forward this info to a Philadelphia educator you know that might be interested.


Tentative Program:

9:30-10:00am- Breakfast and Registration

10:00-10:45am- Opening Plenary: “Race, class and the future of our union”, Brian Jones (NyCORE/MORE)

10:45-12:00pm- Workshop Session 1
  • Organizing to Win: How to Have Effective Conversations that Move People to Action
  • #WEarethePFT: Carrying our Message through Social Media and Beyond
  • Internal Union Elections: Know Your Rights

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch (catered by school employees from Taggart Elementary)

1:00-2:15pm- Workshop Session 2

  • Organizing to Win: How to Have Effective Conversations that Move People to Action
  • Lessons from Recent Labor Victories: Open Negotiations, Hunger Strikes, Charter Protests, and more
  • It Takes More Than a Strong Caucus: Grassroots Fundraising for Our Election Campaign

2:15-3:30pm- Closing Plenary: Announcing the 2016 Leadership Slate and Election Platform!

ItAG Facilitators Interest Meeting


When? Thursday, November 5. 6-8pm

Where? Science Leadership Academy, 55 N. 22nd St.

What? Part of buiding the collective power of students, teachers, families, and community is leading our own engagement into the work together. Inquiry to action groups are spaces for all invested in education for liberation and social justice to learn alongside each other around a theme, and plan actions for communal sharing and uplift at TAG’s annual conference this April. If you are interested in leading, facilitating, and/or co-creating a space, join us to learn about past itags, writing a short proposal of your idea, and how to mobilize community within and outside of your school to participate. Share the word and see you soon.

Past ItAGs have included…
•Black Music as Rebellion * Hip Hop: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly * Queer Issues in Education * • Social Justice Unionism * Content Focus Groups ** Teaching Ferguson *

RSVP on Facebook.

After Reading Between The World And Me, Consider What Must Be Done Between Philadelphia and You. We Welcome You to Join Us.

In leading up to the October 16th event at the Free Library, Teacher Action Group Philadelphia convened two community roundtables for the truths and stories provided by Ta-Nehisi Coates to emerge significant lessons for local students, educators and the greater Philadelphia community. Through our inquiry, we seek to urge audience members to recognize that the issues that make Between The World and Me such a powerful text is more than a true human story, but a present living history that is actively plundering, assaulting, and burdening Black life in Philadelphia. There is much work to be done to transform cross-sector public policies that have collided to create and collectively reinforce the conditions that underwrite the undeserved suffering in many Black and Brown neighborhoods within Philadelphia. This stands beyond yet inextricably intertwined with the personal necessity of interrogating and transforming harmful attitudes and beliefs that make such policies justifiable. Furthermore, let this be a reminder that there are many local organizations, with only a few named below, who have deep histories of organizing Philadelphia community members to reckon with many of the concrete realities that his book draws to the surface.

Click below to read the entire piece by TAG member Chris Rogers at Medium.

After Reading Between The World And Me, Consider What Must Be Done Between Philadelphia and You.

Announcing the 2015 Mayoral Report Card

Philadelphia 2015 Mayoral Report Card on Education (1)

Every candidate talks about great schools – that’s not hyperbole, education is the #1 issue among likely voters in Philadelphia. That’s great. What’s not-so-great is politicians who love talking about great schools but loathe talking about what makes them great. These men and women are trying to get elected, so the goal is to present their ideas as broadly as possible.

For those of us in the actual schools, that doesn’t work. Does a great school support their teachers’ rights to organize? Do they suspend children who opt-out of high stakes testing? This matters a lot, but is rarely discussed.

As a sequel to our 2014 Governor’s Report Card, here’s our assessment of the current Democratic Mayoral Field, based on their responses to our survey. You can read the survey, the responses, and our reasoning.

If you want to share it, please use our PDF or JPEG.  If you want to be part of what we do, just ask.

-The Candidate Report Card Inquiry to Action Group

Developing Cultural Competency Among School Staff

The members of the Inquiry to Action Group Social Justice Educators on a Path of Cultural Relevancy would like to share their collaboratively created module, “Developing Cultural Competency Among School Staff.”

This module is meant to empower school personnel to lead a professional development series that centers on confronting issues of language, culture, and race in educational contexts. There are six sessions designed to be flexible enough for facilitators to adapt the module to suit participant needs and school schedule. The session topics correspond to the partner text: ​Rethinking Multicultural Education: Teaching for Racial and Cultural Justice.

It has been shared in part at multiple workshops, and implemented in its entirety at Stetson, where the candid, meaningful discussions about language, culture and race continue as participants strive to provide a more relevant and socially equitable learning environment.

Please share widely!

Developing Cultural Competency Among School Staff

Announcing the 2015 Education for Liberation Conference!

6th Annual Education for Liberation Conference:


Centering Racial Justice in Our Fight for Public Education

 Saturday, April 25th, 2015
9:30 — 4:00pm

At this year’s TAG conference, we invite participants to connect the national fight for racial justice to the local transformation of Philadelphia’s education system. Together we will reflect on our practice and experiences, imagine new possibilities, and activate ourselves to do the work that will create the school system Philadelphia students deserve. Join us.

Currently, the fight for racial justice is at the forefront of our national conversation. There’s a reinvigorated movement to address the systemic racism within the nation’s criminal justice system.  How is this mobilization and raised consciousness informing our fight for quality public education?  What are the implications for changing the foundations of our schooling system and re-energizing our classroom practice?

Meanwhile, the fight for quality public education is at the forefront of our local conversation.  Debates rage over excessive standardized testing, charter vs. public schools, fair funding, and local control.  How does a racial justice analysis shape our approach to these issues? In a city where we are educating mostly low-income students of color, how are we ensuring that we center our work on their lived experiences, needs, and successful futures? 

This year’s conference highlights include a panel that lifts up the voices of young people of color, a diverse set of workshops that highlight a range of education topics, and a gallery of student work from around the city.

Register today and spread the word!

2015 ItAG Catalogue Announced!

Courtesy of Teachers for Social Justice

Dear TAG community,

As we step away from schools for a few weeks, here’s something to look forward to on your return: 2015’s Inquiry to Action Groups.  Join the movement for educational equity and justice in Philadelphia.  Register now and spread the word: @TAGphilly; #ItAGs2015; #PHLed;

Join us to kick off TAG Philly’s 5th season of ItAGs on Thursday, February 12 at 6:30pm at Science Leadership Academy, at 22nd and Arch.

Find the complete 2015 ItAG catalogue HERE. Download a PDF of the 2015 ItAG Catalogue. Check out the group titles below:

1.  Queer Issues in Education

2.  Holding Officials Accountable: Creating an Education Report Card

3.  Standardized Testing Today: Not Everything that Counts can be Counted 

4.  Revolutionizing Education with Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR)

5.  Social Justice Unionism: How Can We Make it Happen?  

6.  Re-Imagining the “Public” in Public Education

7.  Hip Hop: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

8.  Teaching Ferguson and Beyond 

9.  Fighting Racism From Within: Inquiring Into Structural Racism in the Caucus of Working Educators

Bring Malala’s Story into your Classroom

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration to students and teachers around the world.  As a fierce advocate of education for girls, she has reminded us that we can never take schooling for granted, and that this is a right worth fighting for.  Teacher Action Group encourages teachers to use the occasion of the award of the 2014 Liberty Medal to Malala as an opportunity to encourage students to be advocates for their own education.

“It is we who make history.  It is we who become history.”
—Malala Yousafzai, Liberty Medal acceptance speech, October 21, 2014

For ideas about teaching Malala’s story:


Student urges us all to pressure Gov. Corbett on the budget

TAG is  pleased to share the work of Miae Iwasaki, a middle school student in the School District of Philadelphia:   

As students in the School District of Philadelphia are learning, did it ever occur to you that they are being stripped of their decent education due to budget cuts? Governor Corbett is putting tax payers’ money toward other causes. As a result, school districts have not been, and still are not, receiving enough money to be effective. Students require good education for their future careers. Yet, Governor Corbett is making the budget cuts worse.

These budget cuts are even more unacceptable because Governor Corbett distributed them unevenly. The poorer school districts lost more money than the middle class or wealthy districts. The space separating the rich and poor expanded. In the article “Cuts That Don’t Heal,” even the advocates agree stating, “The budget is expected to scratch the wealthiest communities, cut those in the middle, and lacerate the poorest.” Learning will be harder for students in poorer districts.

What about those learning the English language, those with disabilities, and those who live in poverty? In the article “Parents, students filed 260 complaints this week with state regarding district schools,” a girl name Ming Nguyen immigrated from Vietnam to Philadelphia, assuming she would get good education and learn the English language. She did not get the help needed though, and it made her feel uneasy about her career. She had only one counselor who was a bilingual, and was between four other schools. There are about 78% of the students in the School District of Philadelphia that are learning English, have a disability, or live in poverty. Funding is important to them.

Due to budget cuts, we are not meeting expectations of a good education. Also in the article, “Parents, students filed 260 complaints this week with state regarding district schools,” a boy named Coffer said “Our classrooms are no longer centers of learning, they are just classrooms with too many distractions.” A third grade student became homeless, but the school did not have a full time guidance counselor to support him. If there was enough funding then schools would have been better. Instead, the school district of Philadelphia has lost an amount more $75,000 per class since 2010-2011. From this, it is clear that students are not doing well with school.

Therefore, Governor Corbett must stop the budget cuts. He is distributing them unevenly. Some schools cannot afford to lose anymore funding for those in need of it. Many students do not receive the education they need. For these reasons, us students and parents should fight for a better education. We should pressure Governor Corbett by sending letters to: Room 225, Main Capitol Building Harrisburg, PA 17120.


1. “Cuts That Don’t Heal” by Shayla Johnson from The Union Rep Newsletter.
2. “Where Has Our School Funding Gone?” by Briana Bailey from The Union Rep Newsletter.
3.  “Parents, students filed 260 complaints this week with state regarding district schools” by Regina Medina from Daily News.