Hype over Hite makes no sense

On July 15, 2015 the Philadelphia Daily News printed this letter from APPS member Karel Kilimnik which was a response to a Daily News editorial of July 10, 2015: Saving Private Hite: The superintendent got a vote of confidence. He deserves the Medal of Honor.

Superintendent William Hite, Jr.
Superintendent William Hite, Jr.

I am truly puzzled with your paper’s admiration for Superintendent William Hite. As an educator, I can tell you that he has been toxic for education in Philadelphia. He has brought churn and turmoil to a district that needs leadership and collaboration. Almost 50 percent of principals have been replaced, assistant principals are becoming extinct as are school librarians. Many of these new principals are inexperienced and have not worked in an urban district before. In efforts to divest of veteran teachers many are receiving low evaluation marks for the first time in their professional lives. Hite has presided over the destruction of school communities by closing schools (now he terms it consolidation or merger). He has opened a few new schools that serve under 1,000 students total. My basic question is: What about the rest of the students in our district? Don’t they deserve a great education, too?

The social fabric of this country has been shredded. Few think about the whole; they are concerned with their own child/children. Hite feeds into this mentality wholeheartedly. His policies are not about everyone, they are for the few.

His recent shake-up at school district headquarters is very disturbing. I have researched some of these outsiders being brought into high positions and my findings are unsettling. It appears as if Hite is seeking to put Philadelphia into the arms of charter operators (two out of three I researched come directly from charter organizations). He has not disclosed their salaries. How come there is not enough money for Bartram High School, a struggling neighborhood school, to keep its art program and yet there is money to hire all these new people and create more infrastructure via networks? Hite claimed there would be an annual savings after closing 24 schools – where are the numbers to show this? Now he has found $34 million to give to a private company to hire substitute teachers? I call it magic money because it appears when he needs it.

He is determined to sell off positions and services to private operators over whom he will have no control. These outsiders are totally unaccountable to taxpayers whose money goes to fund them.

Karel Kilimnik

Click here to read Karel’s letter in the Daily News.