By Diane Payne
May 6, 2016
How We Got Here
Looking back over all of the shenanigans we have witnessed over the past six months, when Superintendent William Hite announced his intention to place Cooke, Huey and Wister elementary schools into the Renaissance program, we see how the parents and community were shut out of the process from the beginning. Months later, Dr. Hite reversed his recommendation to place Wister on the chopping block citing improved performance data (which was revealed by APPS member Coleman Poses). But Commissioner Simms threw a curve ball with her surprise motion from the floor to return Wister to the chopping block, expressing her “pent-up emotions” after meeting with parents advocating for a Mastery takeover. None of the other SRC members ever explained why, in this case, the data was not driving their decision.
In the case of Cooke Elementary, City Councilwoman Helen Gym’s office sent data-rich information and questions regarding the competency of Great Oaks Charter, especially since that company has never managed a K-8 school. This report called for a moratorium on the entire process.
Gym’s office submitted another data-rich document, questioning the supposed cost savings of Renaissance schools overall.
Finally, another shady district maneuver surrounding the entire process was discovered when APPS co-founder Lisa Haver requested the evaluation reports which Superintendent Hite touted as part of the parent involvement component to his top-down decision. No reports were to be found anywhere; in fact, it appeared no one even knew what Lisa was requesting…including Dr. Hite himself. So much for that “community engagement” stuff.