Ears on the Board of Education: July 15, 2021
by Diane Payne
President Wilkerson’s unexpected announcement of Board Member Angela McIver’s resignation, effective at the end of the meeting, took attendees by surprise. Neither Wilkerson nor McIver gave any explanation, but McIver told the Inquirer later that she no longer has time for Board work as she must dedicate more time to her business, an extracurricular math program for elementary school students. Wilkerson praised McIver, and McIver responded with praise for Board members, Dr. Hite and 440 staff. McIver also thanked several advocacy organizations including the Philadelphia Student Union, Urb Ed, and Racial Justice Organizing Committee and Melanated Educators. McIver acknowledged APPS’ role as an “ever-present Board watchdog.”
We now face another secret nominating process in which one person, not the electorate, will choose McIver’s replacement. APPS has protested Mayor Kenney’s violations of the Sunshine Act as he directs his Nominating Committee, all of whom are chosen by him, to meet behind closed doors, shutting out the very people whose lives are affected by Board decisions. We should sue, but grass-roots organizations don’t have deep pockets for lawyers, so we find ourselves shouting into the wind.
Board members Leticia Egea-Hinton and Reginald Streeter were absent. The two student Board representatives did not attend.
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Eyes on the Board of Education: July 15, 2021
by Lisa Haver
One year ago, over 100 people signed up to speak at the July 2020 remote Action Meeting in order to urge the Board to vote against the Hite administration’s dangerous proposed reopening plan. After seven hours of testimony from parents, students, principals, educators and community members—during which the Board members hid behind a white screen—the Board (with Angela McIver dissenting) voted not to reject the plan but to table the Item, as requested in a secret communication from Dr. Hite.
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By Lynda Rubin
This last Board Action meeting of the 2020-21 school year should have been a time for the Board to reflect on the difficulties encountered during this past school year and the weaknesses of the Hite administration to provide a cohesive and well executed reaction to the pandemic. Yet the meeting was mostly business as usual. One victory: the board is now hearing all public speakers before the Goals and Guardrails data analysis that has gone on for up to two hours at each meeting. APPS pointed out to the Board that parents who must feed and put their children to bed and teachers preparing for the next day’s lessons cannot wait for hours to be heard. When we fight, we win!
All Board members were present: President Joyce Wilkerson, Vice President Leticia Etea-Hinton, Angela McIver, Mallory Fix Lopez, Julia Danzy, Reginald Streater, Cecelia Thompson, Lisa Salley and Maria McColgan, along with current Student Representatives Keylisha Diaz and Toluwanimi Olaleye. Both Student Reps have contributed insights and suggestions throughout the year. Among their recommendations: a hub on the District’s website for mental health concerns and services; separate counselors for academic and behavioral/mental health issues; at least two counselors in every school; more funding for after-school activities and programs; that Student Board members have the same voting rights as adult Board members.
Click here to continue reading about the Board’s votes on outsourcing and a new charter application.