Board of Education: Tear Down this Wall!

The public is restricted to sitting behind rows of tables set up for Assistant Superintendents and Department heads from the administration building. This is what the attending public sees .

“I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do.”  James Baldwin

Never has a quote been more fitting than with the Philadelphia Board of Education and its new administration. Superintendent Tony Watlington, Sr. comes out of the gate reinstituting the odious practice of leveling–now rebranded as “Enrollment-Driven Resource Review”. Classes that have already established their routines and built relationships over the past month will be turned upside down. The district will again target classrooms that have not reached maximum enrollment allowed under the PFT contract, as if that were a problem to be corrected instead of a more nurturing learning environment.   Classes will be collapsed and students will be dispersed to start all over with another teacher and new group of students. Why does the district do this?  To save money.  Not one board member responded to any of the students or parents who testified against it, nor did they raise it at any time during the 5 ½ hour meeting.  The maximum number of students in grades K-3 is 30; in grades 4 through 12 it is 33. Students in the more affluent districts around Philadelphia, where class size is nowhere near that of Philadelphia, don’t have to endure the disruption of leveling. 

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School District of Philadelphia Board of Education Action Meeting, September 22, 2022 Testimonies

Click to view testimony.

Reasons for Lack of Teacher Retention by Kristin Luebbert

“The treachery that underlies the whole package of bringing back leveling and renaming it continues the District and the Board’s tradition of pushing through with a bad idea, slapping fancy names on it, not being honest in how you present it, and pretending you still care about students.” by Diane Payne

The Board chooses to spend $450,000 for the Tennessee consulting company Joseph & Associates to help Dr. Watlington transition to SDP. sung by Ilene Poses

Martin Luther King High School All Black 9 th Grade Male Teachers by Lynda Rubin

Philadelphia’s school board is failing children with its lack of charter school oversight | Opinion

The playground at Universal Daroff Charter School, which closed just before the 2022-23 academic year began
Aubri Juhasz / WHYY

The following commentary was written by APPS co-founder Lisa Haver and published by Billy Penn on September 19, 2022

Students and families at two Philadelphia schools thrown into chaos just before the academic year have yet to hear those who could have prevented it take any responsibility.

Instead of providing explanations for what happened at Bluford and Daroff — the latter was shut down, and the former will close at the end of the year — Universal Companies, awarded charter contracts for the two West Philly elementary schools over a decade ago, has stonewalled those school communities.

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Board Accepts No Responsibility for Charter Debacle

Special Meeting of the Board of Education: August 26, 2022

by Diane Payne

The August 28, 2022 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, on the emergency at Daroff and Bluford charter schools previously managed by Universal Education Companies, reported:  “School board officials said the schools’ demise resulted from repeated instances of adults failing children.”  The Board made clear at this meeting that those adults don’t include them.  

Universal Companies Abandons Two Charter Schools
The Board called this special meeting, with the legally required minimal notice buried the day before in the Inquirer and a brief notice on their website, to approve agreements with the individual boards of Bluford and Daroff charter schools.  President Joyce Wilkerson and Board Members Mallory Fix Lopez, Lisa Salley, Reginald Streater and Sarah-Ashley Andrews attended in person; Leticia Egea-Hinton, Julia Danzy, Chau Wing Lam and Cecelia Thompson  remotely. Superintendent Tony Watlington, after answering the initial roll call, stated he is “still in a learning phase”, then remained silent for the duration of the meeting. 

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