Masterman student: Neilson a man of the people, but could do more on guns and schools

Ed Neilson was elected state representative for the 174th Legislative District on Aug. 11, 2015. Since then, he has dedicated himself to serving the people of Philadelphia by creating jobs, protecting the elderly, improving public safety, improving the educational climate and addressing the issue of incompetent landlords.

State Rep. Ed Neilson

Students of the School District of Philadelphia see problems with funding in classrooms every day. Our teachers sometimes lack adequate resources, such as access to online software, and many of the events that occur throughout the school year are funded by the Home and School Association, with funds coming directly out of the pockets of parents willing to donate. Neilson has been successful in securing funds for schools and went as far as to pass legislation that established the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program that requires the use of screening tests to identify the students (starting in kindergarten) at risk for future reading difficulties. The Pilot also focuses on providing enhanced core instruction for all students.

Neilson acknowledges that more money needs to be found for the school district but that the burden should not be placed solely on state or city officials. Instead, the two should work in harmony.

But it is not enough to simply state that bills and contract obligations should be paid on time and in full. We wish Neilson would lay out a plan for the securing of more funds, resources and tools necessary to provide a good education.

As students who live in the Northeast, we also spend a great deal of time traveling to Center City early morning and late afternoon every day via public transportation. Neilson is aware of the importance of road safety, hence the support of House Bill 2233 that enables radar-equipped cameras along busy and dangerous roads such as Roosevelt Boulevard. As students who do not get driven to school every day and instead take the El, buses, the subway and sometimes the regional rail lines, we wish Neilson would pay attention to the safety of students while commuting to and from school. Perhaps the installation of cameras on railcars and the positioning of transit officers would result in an overall safer environment.

Ed Neilson has also focused on issues on gun control. He supports a bill that declares gun violence as a “social epidemic that requires immediate action” and condemns the National Rifle Association’s extreme and inflammatory rhetoric. As students, we know all too well that the issue of gun violence has become too large to ignore, as it has reached our schools. But it is not enough to simply agree that the issue is present. Neilson has yet to set up a plan of action that would make it harder for an individual to possess a gun.

We believe that Neilson has done a good job representing our district. He pays attention to the problems of the people and works toward making Philadelphia a safer city for all of its residents. We hope, toward the future, Ed is more lucid and concrete in his plans for the city. ••

Nuwar Osman is a student at Julia R. Masterman High School.