by Diane Payne
March 21, 2018
This was a regularly scheduled action meeting, and all four of the remaining commissioners were present. Commissioner Farah Jimenez resigned unexpectedly after last month’s meeting. In her resignation letter to Governor Wolf, which gave no reason for her resignation, Jimenez said that “..it has been a gift to be in service to the students of Philadelphia.”
Ms. Jimenez secured the position of President and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF) in 2016. Prior to Jimenez’s appointment, PEF meetings were open to the public. However, slightly more than a year after assuming this role, Ms. Jimenez barred three regular attenders of PEF Compact meetings, including a public school parent, even though they had tickets (which were not required prior to Jimenez’s appointment). Admittance to these meeting are now guaranteed only to regular financial contributors of PEF, even though their purpose is to discuss public education; others can take their chances on a waiting list. APPS has questioned, as have members of City Council, the potential conflict of interest in serving as an SRC Commissioner while leading PEF.
Jimenez has been a consistent and vocal supporter of charter schools. No matter the drain of resources it caused to existing public schools, no matter the harm to remaining public school students, and no matter the lack of demonstrable success of charter schools. Charter expansion at any cost is a big part of the legacy of Commissioner Jimenez.
Ten members of APPS were present for this meeting; four members and others testified on behalf of public education.