Barbara McDowell Dowdall testimony transcript from the SRC meeting of June 15, 2017.

Click on the picture to view the SRC testimony video. Barbara’s testimony is at time stamp 12:11,

School Closure Process OR Hollowed Out Trees

tree pic

“We call on you, five devoted citizens of Pennsylvania, appointed by either our mayor or governor, to vote by the Fall of 2017 to abolish the School Reform Commission and clear the way for Philadelphia voters to control their own schools.”

A tree with a structural defect … needs only a strong wind or an ice storm to send it crashing to the ground.

A school that has been gradually drained of resources is similarly at risk.

Tree defects are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The people who work and study in a school, and who bring their children there know what is happening.

The untrained eye may have a hard time recognizing the signs of a tree in serious trouble. School district officials, governing bodies and superintendents know, can identify both problems and solutions and bring the latter to fruition.

A tree can be big and green yet be mostly hollow. Physiologically, this tree is still functioning, but it may not be structurally sound. One stiff wind could send it toppling.

A school may have programs and consultants galore, but a neighborhood school staffed by experienced, qualified individuals, who if asked, and provided what they say they need, can survive the stiff winds of a Mark Gleason or corporate charter chain.

A health-care program designed to increase a tree’s vigor may help it overcome minor root damage or the stress caused by insect or disease damage.

A concerted effort by people who care about and believe in the schools they are appointed to manage can overcome problems superficially identified as low test scores through small classes, restored staff in food service, accounting (school ops), building maintenance, clerical duties, properly functioning heating and cooling, full service and professionally school libraries and myriad activities that both develop skills and bring joy to the learning process.

It is my profound hope that you can find it in your hearts and hands to care for our dear schools until the day you will be choosing to turn the responsibilities over to those most involved with our centers of learning.

Barbara McDowell Dowdall

 Read more:
What’s Wrong With That Tree | Fine Gardening