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.


The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools is a grass-roots organization of parents, community members, and school staff—including teachers, school nurses, librarians, counselors and safety staff—dedicated to the preservation of public schools. APPS is an independent organization with no political or union affiliation. We are entirely self-funded and do not take financial donations from outside sources. All members donate their time and receive no salary.