An Analysis of How Philadelphia School Partnership Has Implemented Its Mission

By Coleman Poses

PSP

August 26, 2015

Philadelphia School Partnership can trace its origin back to 2010, as a nonprofit organization with a mission to “create and expand great schools in Philadelphia.” To accomplish this mission, it had planned to collect and distribute 100 million dollars to successful Archdiocesan, charter, and district schools for their incubation, startup, expansion, and turnaround endeavors.

This mission coincided with the launching of the new District-Charter Collaboration Compacts, which would, according to the marketing, commit its signatories to usher in a new era of cooperation between school districts and charter schools across the country. In theory, there would be less competition for resources, and a universal enrollment would end the practice of schools luring students away from other schools. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation issued the grant to fund these compacts.

As of this writing, 21 districts have signed such agreements. Philadelphia’s agreement, called the Great Schools Compact (GSC), however, was unique in that it included Archdiocesan Catholic schools. The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) was charged with guiding the GSC as well as acting as its fiscal agent.

This article focuses on the activities that the PSP has undertaken.

Click here to read the full article.

Lisa Haver SRC Testimony – August 20, 2015

Lisa Haver

SRC Testimony of Lisa Haver                     

August 20, 2015

Good evening. My name is Lisa Haver; I am a retired teacher and co-founder of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools which has recently donated over $8000 to student programs from a fund set up from a settlement with the SRC and the city after the First Amendment rights of three of our members, including me, were violated at a recent SRC meeting.

When you consider the determination of the Hite administration and the SRC to strip the teachers and school professionals of all collective bargaining rights while simultaneously finding more and more ways to outsource PD it starts to make sense. Because how can teachers who apparently don’t know enough to share any of their own knowledge and expertise expect to be respected and treated like professionals?

Resolution A-4 proposes to take professional development from the teachers and educational leadership at three unnamed schools and give it to an outside provider, in this case Mastery charter district. What it doesn’t say is why. Who decided that unknown employees from a charter company know more than SD teachers? Given that all SD teachers are certified but only some of Mastery’s, and that test scores from district schools are consistently higher than those of charters, how does this make sense?

How did William Penn Foundation and Mastery charters come together—once again—to determine the future of this public school district?

Who in the Hite administration took part in those discussions? The SRC should have had a formal presentation at a previous meeting—unless this scheme, which will be implemented tomorrow, was just hatched.

“ Mastery will compile all progress data and work with the School District team to access and analyze data available from the District at the teacher and school level to gauge impact of the program. “

The SRC is going to allow an outside company to compile and analyze data of teachers and students to whom they are not accountable in a school they don’t work for? No explanation of who collects it and how it would be used or how much control the actual teachers would have over it.   Of course, without a contract, those pesky issues would disappear.

And given the hurried way that the SRC, in violation of all established rules, handed over Frederick Douglass Elementary to Mastery just a couple of months ago, you couldn’t blame the principals and staff of those three schools for wondering if Mastery were casing them for its own takeover purposes.

If we are going to follow Mastery’s lead, then let’s go all the way. Let’s get millions of dollars from foundations and PSP and anonymous donors. Let’s counsel out students who create academic or behavioral problems which diminish our image. Let’s have scads of in-school administrators. Let’s not fill the empty seats of students we have eased out to keep class size low.

For any of this to make any sense, teachers from Masterman and Central would be doing PD for Mastery.

This is an obvious move for the SRC to assist Mastery in expanding its brand and its control at the expense of the students and teachers and parents of this district.

Now I will ask a third time for an accounting by the SRC on how much it has paid in legal fees in one case. And I will ask again how the SRC violates its own by-laws by not posting the minutes of its last ten meetings. The SRC makes it clear time and again that they will not be accountable to the people of this city, including those who want to have a say in who comes into our children’s classrooms.


To read the resolution (which was accepted by the SRC August 20th), see August 20th School Reform Commission Resolutions and APPS Comments, Resolution A-4. APPS comment precedes the resolution.

Community Member Testimony at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission Meeting – August 20, 2015

SRC

On Thursday, August 20th, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, the appointed body that has been managing the School District since 2001, held a public Action meeting. A number of measures were adopted which advance the privatization agenda of corporate education reformers begun in 2001 and has kicked into high gear in the last few years.

Here are ten videos of testimony by APPS members and other community members about the SRC’s plans. Videos are in the order of the testimony at the meeting. (One video is on page 2.)

For details on some of the resolutions, see the August 20th School Reform Commission Resolutions and APPS Comments post on this website.

APPS Donates Settlement Money to Student Programs

FirstAmendment

Advocacy Organization Donates Settlement Money to Student Programs

August 10, 2015

Members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools have begun to donate the funds received from a settlement reached last month with the SRC, the School District of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia. Three APPS members–Ilene, Poses, Barbara Dowdall, and Lisa Haver, all retired teachers–filed suit in federal court after school district security and Philadelphia police confiscated their signs at the February 2015 SRC meeting. Ms. Poses incurred minor injuries when she was dragged from school district headquarters by Philadelphia police officers because she refused to remove the sign she was wearing.

All of the plaintiffs have agreed to donate the settlement money, approximately $21, 000, to student programs and to continue the advocacy work of the Alliance. None will benefit personally from the settlement, which was paid completely from the city’s litigation fund.

The three APPS members have donated  a total of $6500.00 to support student programs at Philadelphia Young Playwrights, History Hunters, the Arden Theater, the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia (TIP), Kelly Green (a student-run vegetable garden at John B. Kelly School), the Arden Theater, and the Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club.

A $1000.00 donation was also made to the Philadelphia Student Union, whose video of the assault was instrumental in reaching the settlement. Hiram River, PSU Executive Director, said, “We are very grateful to APPS for this generous donation and for their ongoing advocacy on behalf of the students of Philadelphia.”

Donations will be given to additional student programs and organizations in the coming months.