by Karel Kilimnik
March 12, 2016
Welcome to the Eighth Edition of Eyes on the SRC.
There are no resolutions directly pertaining to the district’s most recent assault on public education, namely the Hite administration’s placement of four more neighborhood schools into his “Turnaround Network”. This month, we simply follow the continual erosion of school staff and resources and the continued outsourcing of services.
At the Monday February 29 hearing of the Education Committee of City Council, Dr. Hite announced that he would be creating more Turnaround Schools by the end of the week. That Friday, the names of the four elementary schools to be “turned around” were released: Roosevelt, Munoz-Marin, S W Mitchell, and Rhodes. Principals and teachers would have to reapply for their jobs, and the district could eliminate the entire staff if it chose to. A series of community meetings were scheduled for the following week, the first one, at Roosevelt, to be held the following Monday—giving the parents and community minimal notification (shades of the October 2014 SRC last-minute/early morning meeting to cancel the PFT contract). APPS members have attended all four meetings, and the level of anger and frustration voiced by parents and community members is unprecedented. These schools have all been though some kind of conversion—or two—in the past five to ten years. Parents at every school said that they would fight to keep their teachers. District staff has been unable, or unwilling, to answer basic questions such as where the funding will come from, how the conversion would take place, why the decision was made before the community meetings, and why it is necessary to get rid of teachers and principals.
Next SRC meeting: Thursday March 17, 5:30 PM. To register to speak call 215.400.4180 by 4:30 March 16. It’s best to identify yourself as a teacher, parent, or community member as the rules stipulate that only “one member of an organization can register to speak.”(There is another SRC Action Meeting on March 24.)
Plan to attend the rally in support of all schools fighting any kind of turnaround, including the four schools just targeted and the three schools previously named as Renaissance schools—Cooke, Huey, and Wister:
Thursday March 17 at 4:15 on the steps of 440 (before the SRC meeting).