Overlooked Hite Legacy

By Diane Payne

Dr. Hite has wrapped up a decade of superintendency in Philadelphia.  He received accolades from each Board member, the mayor, his administrative staff, and the media to name the most visible.  Farewells rarely dwell on failures and mistakes so in each of these speeches, PowerPoints, and media articles Hite is a star.  But just as District presentations and PowerPoints at each monthly Action Meeting do not represent the reality experienced on the ground, Hite’s departing accolades leave out the hurt and pain felt by teachers, students, and families impacted by his decisions.  

Hite’s unflappable demeanor and ability to effectively navigate the political gauntlet served him well.  The power structure of the District and city were happy with Hite.  APPS hopes that  the next Superintendent will receive praise from students, teachers, families, and public school advocates more than from the city’s power elites.  

Here is what was left out by the Board, mayor, and media.

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Board Renews Charters without Public Hearings

by Lisa Haver

The Philadelphia Board of Education is just days away from renewing several charter schools, many of which have not met the basic standards set by the Board. The Board’s policies and practices ensure that the public has fewer opportunities to testify on how renewing the charters affect their neighborhood schools. The Board will also be voting to expand the enrollment of Keystone Academy Charter by over 40%, again with no public review. At its May action meeting, the Board added a Charter Schools Office presentation to the agenda just hours before the meeting convened and after they closed the window to sign up to testify. The Board holds no renewal hearings as other districts in the state do. Yet the Board will be voting to renew most of the twenty-two schools in this year’s cohort. Anyone who spoke at the May meeting–not knowing that the Board would be voting on the renewals next month– may be barred from speaking in June.

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School District of Philadelphia Board of Education Action Meeting, May 26, 2022 Testimonies

Click to view testimony.

High School Admissions, Equity and Planning by Cheri Micheau

Action Item #29–Center for Supportive Schools by Lynda Rubin

Board of Education Stonewalling, Blocking Comments by Lisa Haver

Board’s Lack of Transparency and Engagement by Diane Payne

Action Item 65–Outsourcing by Ilene Poses

Fund Libraries for All Our Students! by Eric Hitchner

Lost Books–Certified Teacher Librarians, School Libraries by Barbara Dowdall

What Did Board Accomplish in Eight-hour Meeting?

Ears on the Board of Education: May 26, 2022

by Diane Payne

For Dr. Hite’s last meeting as superintendent, Board President Joyce Wilkerson introduced a slideshow of his accomplishments through the decade.  (Those viewing remotely couldn’t hear so it may have had an audio component.) Mayor Kenney appeared in person to honor Hite.  Going-away tributes accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Hite achieve some success on the surface, and in the interest of those holding the seats of political and financial power.   The budget, at least for now, is in  better shape.  But the people on the front lines can attest that those successes came at a price to students, staff, and families. 

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