An Open Letter to SRC Chairwoman Neff about the extension of the contract of Superintendent Hite


Dear Chairwoman Neff:

The members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools call on you and the members of the SRC to table your plans to renew the contract of Superintendent William Hite. There is no need to take this action at this time. Superintendents’ terms last five years; the time to assess the performance of the superintendent is at the end of those five years. The SRC should not be locking the district and its stakeholders into a seven-year contract.

The timing and speed of the proposed contract extension appears to be another attempt by the SRC to prevent the people of the city an opportunity to be heard on the policies and the direction of its public schools.

The people of Philadelphia have clearly expressed their views on education at the ballot box in the recent mayoral and gubernatorial elections.  The voters rejected the mayoral candidate whose platform called for more privatization, more charters and more school closures.  They voted out a governor whose education policies inflicted harm on our public schools.  It is wrong, therefore, to have the SRC members appointed by the former governor and the outgoing mayor act in opposition to those wishes.

In addition, because the SRC is an appointed body and not an elected one, you and the other commissioners should make every effort to make sure the public has ample opportunity to be heard on such an important decision.  The SRC’s announcement, which comes just six days before it intends to vote on the resolution to extend, does not give the public ample opportunity to consider the merits or to be involved in this vital public policy.  And unlike all other Pennsylvanians, Philadelphians do not have the ability to vote out of office the SRC members who appear to be attempting to undermine the democratic process.

Before Dr. Hite’s contract was approved three years ago, the SRC held public hearings.  While we believe it is inappropriate, at this time, to consider a contract extension for Dr. Hite, the very least the SRC should do is to hold public hearings to allow Philadelphians to participate in this critical decision.


Lisa Haver, Co-founder

Karel Kilimnik, Co-founder


Hite deserves extension
Philadelphia Inquirer – December 14, 2015
SRC Chairwoman Neff doubles-down on her support of Hite. (Scroll down to  the last letter. Read the comments.)


Eyes on the December 17th SRC


by Karel Kilimnik

December 10, 2015

Welcome to the Fifth Edition of APPS’ “Eyes on the SRC”.

A cautionary note to our readers. This analysis is based on what the SRC has chosen to publish right now at this very moment. We try to keep up but sometimes it’s difficult when a Resolution pops up right before the SRC Action meeting.

It is gratifying to see more people attending SRC Action meetings and speaking. We continue to ask questions, they continue to avoid answering. It is essential for all of us to speak up. Our words travel far beyond the four walls of the auditorium. The meeting is live streamed and journalists tweet as well as write articles. We have to get our ideas into the public arena. Dr. Hite continues to refuse to sever the Source4Teachers contract. Teachers cover classes, and students do not have regularly appointed classroom teachers, while Source4Teachers continues to fail miserably at providing substitute teachers. We need to continue asking Dr. Hite to break the contract. It is unconscionable to inflict this situation on students and teachers.

The next SRC meeting is Thursday Dec. 17th at 5:30. To register to speak you must call 215 400 4180 by 4:30 on Dec. 16th. It’s best to say that you’re a teacher, parent, or community member because only “one member of an organization can register to speak” (from the District website)

Click here to see a selection of SRC Resolutions for December 17th and APPS comments. 

Ears on the November 19th SRC

SRC 2-18-16 #!

by Diane Payne

The November 19, 2015 meeting was a jam-packed event with 71 speakers. The anger from parents and community members of Cooke, Huey and Wister, trying to save their schools from being turned over to charter companies, was felt by everyone in the room. A number of teachers and students, whose schools have been thrown into chaos due to the SRC’s outsourcing of substitutes, expressed their frustration with the district’s decision not to cancel the Source4Teachers contract. It is not possible to include every facet of this meeting, so a few highlights will have to suffice

Unanswered Questions

At each meeting, questions are put to Superintendent Hite and to the members of the SRC, most of which go unanswered. Here are some of the questions which were asked last Thursday:

Click here to read the entire post.

What could be wrong with a “community school” model?

alison mcdowell
Alison McDowell

by Alison McDowell

If you read my SRC testimony it paints a troubling picture. Given that my testimony was limited to three minutes, I wanted to add some additional thoughts to the conversation. It’s particularly important to get these ideas out there, because Philadelphia’s mayor elect Jim Kenney and his new Chief Education Officer, Otis Hackney, just took a trip to Cincinnati with the express purpose of learning more about the community school model and how it could work in our city. While Oyler, the school they visited, is lauded for its program, the long term success of the model remains uncertain.

As I see it, two groups are working concurrently on community school initiatives. They hold opposing views about what community schools are. Corporate education eformers talk about eliminating the concept of “seat time,” instead they want to promote the idea that you can learn anywhere at any pace. I see that line of thinking as potentially very dangerous if you’re someone like me who values real bricks and mortar schools as a cornerstone of civil society. At the same time there are an increasing number of people who are involved with community school initiatives on the local level. They see community schools as neighborhood anchors. The problem is that they have absolutely no knowledge that there is another powerful group, the corporate education reformers, including Tom Vander Ark, working to undermine all they are doing.

Click here to read the entire article.