John N. Mitchell Tribune Staff Writer Mar 23, 2018
The Rev. Kevin Johnson picked up the crucial endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers earlier this week in his bid to defeat Congressman Dwight Evans in the newly drawn 3rd Congressional District in next month’s primary.
“We believe that Kevin is the right person to take the fight for the future of public education and working people to Washington,” said PFT President Jerry Jordan. “Our students and communities need strong advocates in Washington fighting for them and with them. Educators and families across the 3rd District must have a representative committed to investing in public education, workers’ rights, and marginalized communities. Kevin’s platform can bring that change to Capitol Hill.”
Johnson, the lead Pastor at Dare to Imagine Church in the Mount Airy section of the city and the CEO of Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. (OIC) originally announced that he was running for the 1st Congressional district under the old map. However, with the redraw, Johnson lives in the new 3rd District, which includes most of the city west of Broad Street.
Improving public education is a key component of Johnson’s platform, as are job growth, neighborhood revitalization and the reduction of poverty.
“As a father of three and as the leader of a workforce development agency that serves thousands annually by providing the training and education they need, I know that the future of our city requires that we have a roadmap of success for our children,” Johnson said. “Every child deserves quality public education; and every educator must be provided with the fair wages and benefits that are owed t them for that work.”
While Evans has been an advocate for improving education, he has had a fractious relationship with the PFT that goes back to the creation of ACT 46, which he helped author along with then Gov. Tom Ridge. Passed in 1999.
Act 46 amended the Pennsylvania School code to allow the state to take over schools determined to be in “financial or academic distress.” The Act also created the School Reform Commission (SRC) to govern in place of the school district, and significantly limited teachers’ ability to strike and bargain collectively. Created in 2001, the SRC is dissolving this year.
The PFT only endorses candidates where there are contested races. They are also endorsing Brendan Boyle in the 2nd District and Rich Lazer in the 5th District.
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