APPS, OCOS Demand to Be Heard on Selection of Board Members

December 7, 2020


Dear Mayor Kenney,


On behalf of the members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools and the member organizations of the Our City, Our Schools Coalition, we are writing to ask that the community no longer be shut out of the selection process for the three current Board of Education vacancies. 
The Nominating Panel you appointed has held no public meetings and has none scheduled. The Panel’s 22-minute remote event of November 17 included no opportunity for hearing public testimony.  The public has been denied any knowledge of who has applied and how the Panel is weighing those applications.  

At this time, we are asking:  that all applications for this public position be released to the public; that you delay the December 15 deadline for the Panel’s submission of their recommended candidates to your office; that you direct the Panel to conduct all deliberations in public; that you direct the Panel to include interactive public testimony at its next public convening. 

Click here to read the rest of the letter.

APPS Urges Board to Reject City Health Director’s Reopening Recommendations

by Lisa Haver

Update: the Hite administration has scrapped its reopening plan for the foreseeable future. When the issue comes up again for reconsideration, possibly in Spring 2021, APPS will reissue this statement. 

Members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools call on the Board of Education and the Hite administration to stop following recommendations from City Health Director Thomas Farley on sending back students and staff to District buildings. 

The inconsistencies of Dr. Farley’s statements since July demonstrate his failure to present an honest assessment of the dangers of reopening school buildings. No one disputes that face-to-face instruction would be better, but we cannot endanger the lives of teachers and their students, nor those of their families.

To read the rest of the statement click here.

APPS Calls for the Resignation of Superintendent Hite

In a letter sent this morning, the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools has called on the Board of Education to ask for the resignation of Superintendent William Hite.   

“In light of the many revelations contained in the Inspector General’s report of the Hite administration’s failure to protect the health and safety of the students and staff of Benjamin Franklin and SLA high schools, the members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools call on the Board of Education to ask for the resignation of Superintendent William Hite”, APPS co-founders Lisa Haver and Karel Kilimnik told the Board.   

“Dr. Hite and his team, for over a year, endangered the health and safety of the students and staff of two high schools,” said Haver. “They ignored repeated warnings from parents, principals and teachers. They pushed forward even after the emergency hospitalization of teachers after daily exposure to toxins. The Board of Education should ask for Dr. Hite’s resignation today.”

Click here to read the rest of the press release and the letter to the Board.

APPS Calls on Board of Education to Vote on District Reopening Plan

Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools  

For immediate release:  July 16, 2020  

Members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, a grass-roots advocacy organization, has called on the Board of Education to vote on the District’s re-opening plan at its special July 23 Action Meeting.  

“The plan presented yesterday—during a remote press conference—raises crucial questions about the health and safety of students and staff when they return to in-person classes”, said APPS co-founders Lisa Haver and Karel Kilimnik in a letter to the Board today. “Those questions must be heard and deliberated on by the Board in a public meeting, and the Board, as the governing body of the city’s public schools, must take a vote to approve or reject the Administration’s plan.”

APPS members attended all of last week’s online meetings, billed by the District as “Town Halls” but actually sessions in which members of the public submitted questions. No questions were answered during the sessions, and the District has not yet posted any on its website.

Questions and concerns—about logistics, students receiving special education services, protection for medically vulnerable students and staff, lack of space in common areas, flexibility for working parents, transportation, and more—raised by reporters at the press conference, and by members of the public afterwards, must be answered in more detail at the Board’s meeting next week, for which an agenda has yet to be posted.

APPS is also calling on the Board to mandate re-opening plans from all charter school operators.

“The Board is responsible for the health and safety of all District students, including those attending the District’s 87 charter schools”, said Haver. “The Board must require the same type of detailed re-opening plan from those administrations.”

Dear President Wilkerson and Members of the Board, 
 
APPS members call on the Members of the Board of Education to vote to approve or reject the Administration’s proposed reopening plan at the July 23, 2020 Special Action Meeting. That meeting’s agenda should include consideration of the Advancing Education Safety Plan as an official item. 
 
The AES plan presented yesterday—during a remote press conference—raises crucial questions about the health and safety of students and staff when they return to in-person classes. Those questions must be heard and deliberated on by the Board in a public meeting, and the Board, as the governing body of the city’s public schools, must take a vote to approve or reject the Administration’s plan.
 
Concerns raised but not answered at last week’s online sessions—about logistics, students receiving special education services, protection for medically vulnerable students and staff, lack of space in common areas, flexibility for working parents, transportation, and more—must be answered by District staff at the meeting.  
 
In addition, the Board must require all charter school operators to submit the same type of detailed reopening plan for each of the 87 District charters. The Board is responsible to assure the health and safety of all of the District’s students, whether they attend District- or charter-managed schools. 
 
We appreciate your attention to these matters and would appreciate a timely response.

 
Sincerely,
Lisa Haver
Karel Kilimnik