Ears on the Board of Education: July 14, 2022
by Diane Payne
With only one item on the agenda and six public speakers, this should have been a quick meeting. But the 2-hour Goals and Guardrails session took up almost half of this 4 ½ hour session. Eight of the nine Board members attended in person; Cecelia Thompson again attended virtually.
President Joyce Wilkerson thanked Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania legislative delegation for passing a state budget that contains historic education funding increases. Unfortunately, the charter reforms that had been hammered out in bipartisan negotiations for years were killed at the last minute. Board Member Mallory Fix Lopez reported that the state legislature has passed HB1642 which will increase recruitment opportunities for new teachers in Philadelphia and also creates opportunities for high school student graduates from the District to receive credits toward a teaching certificate.
BM Thompson gave the Parent and Community Advisory Council (PCAC) report (not on the agenda) with the usual lack of detail and with no indication of the actual impact of this Council. She noted that PCAC members were on the Superintendent’s transition team, although she didn’t mention that only seven of the eight-seven members of the entire transition team are parents. Thompson also reported that one PCAC member has volunteered to help analyze the 11,000 work order backlog for Philadelphia school buildings. Giving this kind of responsibility to a parent volunteer of unknown qualifications should have raised questions, but none of the other Board members asked why this kind of work was not being done by a qualified District employee from the Office of Operations.