Ears on the Board of Education: February 27, 2020

by Diane Payne

Board Rejects Three New Charter Applications

When we organize and fight, we can win.  By unanimous vote, the Board rejected applications from High School of Health Sciences Charter and String Theory/Joan Myers Brown. APPS wrote an analysis of the applications and the forces behind them, after attending all hearings and researching the corporate and political connections behind them. The Kensington Health Sciences Academy–principal, teachers, parents and students–wrote commentaries and showed up at Board meetings to urge the District to support their neighborhood school rather than cripple it with charter competition.

APPS  attends and reports on every meeting conducted by the Board of Education, as we did with the School Reform Commission before it.  Often, APPS members provide the only public eyes and ears witnessing and reporting on decisions and spending that affect our city’s schools.  This month, the outsourcing to unaccredited institutions and corporate edu-vendors continues the policies and practices of the SRC. The Board awarded contracts to Teach for America and Relay Graduate School of Education (not accredited in this state) for teacher recruitment, and the DMG group for administrative consulting.  These edu-vendors maintain a deep connection to charter schools and corporate disruptors of public education. Either blind to or unconcerned about that connection, the Board approved a total expenditure of $2,651,000 for these Items alone. The Board postponed the Action Item allotting $2 million to the edu-vendor SchoolKit.

(Read the reports by the late Ken Derstine, a founding APPS member, on billionaire Eli Broad’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle public education:  Who is Eli Broad? & More on Broad in Philadelphia)

Click here to read the rest of the report

Policy Committee Meeting Report: March 5, 2020

by Lisa Haver

Are Board Members Hearing Community Concerns on CSPR?

Present: Co-chairs Maria McColgan and Joyce Wilkerson, Committee members Julia Danzy and Lee Huang. Chris McGinley was absent. Board members Angela McIver and Letitia Egea-Hinton also attended and participated.

The Board considered eliminating or amending seven District policies on curriculum, academic standards, exemption from instruction, discipline records, missing child registration, student activity funds, and debt. (Find the full agenda here.)

No public documents were distributed; as usual, one binder with the policies under consideration was kept on the table outside the room. The policy titles, without content, were projected onto the wall during the review.

Continue reading here.

Finance and Facilities Committee:  February 20, 2020

by Lisa Haver

Board Spending Priority:  More Consultant Contracts or Healthy Schools? 

Committee members present:  Co-chairs Leticia Egea-Hinton and Lee Huang, Joyce Wilkerson and Maria McColgan. Board members Julia Danzy, Angela McIver, Mallory Fix Lopez and Chris McGinley also attended and participated.

Egea-Hinton opened the meeting by announcing that the Board is working to acknowledge emails from the community about the environmental crisis. She said that the Board has made the asbestos crisis a priority and is monitoring it closely. Egea-Hinton invited all concerned to come to Action and Committee meetings and to write to the Board.

Continue reading here.