Supporters of public education celebrate the demise of the School Reform Commission

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Click on the picture to view the video of supporters of public education speaking before the SRC meeting of November 16, 2017. The SRC vote on dissolution is at the end.

Click on a timestamp to select a desired speaker. (If the timestamp does not work, move the slider at the bottom of the video to the time listed in the timestamp. It may be necessary to recheck the play button.)

Note: The SRC placed media on row 5 in the auditorium which allowed only filming speakers from the back and constant visual interruption from the audience in the first four rows. We have protested these filming conditions to no avail.

Click this picture to see the discussion and vote of the SRC to dissolve itself.

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Transcripts of testimony from APPS members in order of appearance.

Click the picture to read the transcript of Deborah Grill’s testimony.

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Click the picture to read the transcript of Lisa Haver’s testimony.

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Click the picture to read the transcript of Lynda Rubin’s testimony.

Lynda Rubin

Click the picture to read the transcript of Ilene Poses’s testimony.

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Click the picture to read the transcript of Karel Kilimnik’s testimony.

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Click the picture to read the transcript of Barbara Dowdall’s testimony.

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Click the picture to read the transcript of Diane Payne’s testimony.

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APPS Celebrates the End of the SRC, Calls for Elected School Board

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For immediate release                                                            November 2, 2017

Members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools celebrate the impending dissolution of the School Reform Commission. We thank Mayor Kenney and Council President Clarke for their leadership in bringing this state-imposed body to an end.  State control of our schools has brought devastation to this city: precious funds have been diverted to non-public schools and over 30 neighborhoods have seen their schools closed permanently.

Since 2012, APPS members have attended every session of the SRC, including special meetings and Policy Committee meetings.  We have spent those five years fighting and organizing against the reckless spending, lack of transparency and disregard for the public exhibited by the many iterations of the SRC.  In 2014, APPS sued then-Chair Bill Green and the SRC in federal court for violating the public’s First Amendment rights when Green ordered the police to confiscate signs from members of the public—and won. The following year, we filed suit in Commonwealth Court to stop the SRC’s continual violations of the PA Sunshine Act.  Our settlement resulted in significant changes in SRC policy, including posting the resolutions to be voted on two weeks before the meeting instead of only 72 hours, and allowing the public to speak on resolutions posted just before or during the meeting.

We now have a unique opportunity to end the disenfranchisement of the people of Philadelphia.  The stakeholders in our public school system—that is, every person who benefits from a thriving public school system—should have the same rights as those in every other district in the commonwealth to elect the officials who will be entrusted to represent them in matters of school governance.

The dissolution of the SRC is not contingent on changing the City Charter.  The Charter now provides for mayoral control, as it did before SRC. The Mayor can select an interim school board for a year, during which time the city should hold community forums, as it is presently doing for the Rebuild initiative, to hear from the people whose voices were shut out during the reign of the SRC about how best to create a truly representative body for the critical task of educating our children.

Trading in one unelected, unaccountable board for another is not a progressive solution to the problems facing the district.

 

Ears on the SRC: October 19, 2017

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by Diane Payne

 Chair Joyce Wilkerson and Commissioners Estelle Richmond, Chris McGinley and Farah Jimenez were present for the entire meeting. Missing in action once again was Commissioner Bill Green. Green has been exhibiting a disdain for his position by failing to be present for part or all of five meetings since April. No other commissioner has had such an abysmal attendance record. Green has come in at the tail end of two meetings this year, after staff presentations and public speakers, but was still permitted to vote. He has left two other meetings early only to call in by phone much later, again, just in time to vote. This time he never showed, and no explanation was given by the Chair.   Resolution B-1 Donation: $2,700,000 Ratification of Acceptance of Donation of Services and Resources from Temple University had to be withdrawn by staff because McGinley and Wilkerson abstained due to their Temple employment. That left the vote an unpassable tie of 2-2. This resolution was to accept “the donation of professional development services from Temple University to improve leadership, instruction and parent engagement of English Learners valued at $2,700,000 for the period commencing September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2021

APPS once again calls on Chair Wilkerson to address the issue of the disappearing commissioner. If Green cannot or will not perform his duties, he should resign.

Eleven members of APPS attended the October meeting; two addressed the Commission on matters of defending public education. A number of other speakers called on the SRC to vote to dissolve itself now. When the first speaker, student speaker Samuel Dennis, requested the SRC introduce a resolution to abolish, Chair Wilkerson denied his request. The Our City Our Schools (OCOS) coalition members, bearing signs, stood in solidarity. When Wilkerson refused, the members of OCOS loudly chanted “tick – tick – tick…” for the remainder of Samuel’s three allotted minutes, (during which Wilkerson tried to bring up the next speaker) symbolizing time running out for the undemocratic, unelected SRC.

Conduct Unbecoming to a Public Figure

Click here to read the entire article.

Defenders of public education testify at the October 19th meeting of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission

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Click on the picture to view the video of selected speakers defending public education at the October 19, 2017 meeting of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. Speakers are listed in order of appearance before the SRC.

At this meeting the SRC announced they are exploring the dissolution of the SRC. See the video at 0:36. Also see:

What comes after the SRC? City likely to move soon on new Philly school board | Philadelphia Inquirer – October 20, 2017