Ears on the SRC: May 24, 2018

SRC 5-24-18

by Diane Payne
June 4, 2018


All four sitting commissioners were present for this meeting. Three members of APPS and several community members spoke in defense of public education, including six who opposed Dr. Hite’s plan to close Strawberry Mansion as a comprehensive high school.  They cited reasons why the Strawberry Mansion community needs to keep a high school open in the rapidly gentrifying area.

 To view these testimonies go to APPS.net

 Commissioners Attempt to Justify Failing to Carry Out Their Public Duty

Two Commissioners offered justifications for voting to approve charter schools despite having serious concerns about them.  Commissioner Fran Burns read a statement at the beginning of the meeting about the SRC’s approval of another Franklin Towne Charter school. Chairwoman Estelle Richman, along with Commissioner Burns, admitted that there were several areas in which the Philadelphia Hebrew Charter School (PHCS) application was deficient–just before voting to approve it.

 At the previous meeting,  APPS co-founder Lisa Haver asked the Commissioners to explain why they approved the Franklin Towne Charter Middle School (FTCMS) re-application after it had denied virtually the same application in February. APPS had sent the SRC a letter asking for an explanation but received no response. Haver pointed out that FTCMS had failed to address concerns raised by the Charter Schools Office (CSO) in over thirty areas.  Burns said she had an explanation but  would not answer until the next meeting (even though Haver had ceded most of her time so the SRC would answer then). At this meeting,  Burns said that she voted to approve even though there was serious concerns because she felt the “conditions” imposed by the CSO addressed those concerns.  That is, a charter operator can submit a seriously flawed application, not once but twice, and the CSO will rewrite it for them, adding conditions that the charter company had not yet agreed to, paving the way for the charter to begin to collect tax dollars.

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Ears on the SRC: May 17, 2018

SRC 5-17-18

by Diane Payne
June 1, 2018

 SRC Limping to June 30th

Both the elected and appointed officials who control the SRC seem to hold the people of Philadelphia in very low regard.  Mayor Kenney removed two of the previous Commissioners, Chris McGinley and Joyce Wilkerson, so that they would be able to serve on his newly-appointed school board. Their seats were filled by two placeholders, former SRC Chair Marge Neff and former district staff member Fran Burns. In addition, the SRC has been conducting business with only four seats filled because of Governor Wolf’s decision not to replace Farah Jimenez after she unexpectedly resigned in February. Bill Green showed his disrespect for district stakeholders by skipping yet another meeting (we’ve lost count of all the meetings he has been absent or late for in the last year).  The charter schools Green supports can fire staff without explanation or due process, and Green can be absent without explanation or regard for the community. We did wonder whether the SRC withdrew two resolutions concerning charters just prior to the meeting, without explanation, because of Green’s absence. Present at this meeting were: Chairwoman Estelle Richman and Commissioners Fran Burns and Marge Neff.

Five members of APPS testified in support of public education at this meeting.  In addition, four members of the public testified on behalf of public education.

 SRC Spending Priorities Remain Unclear

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Defenders of public education speak before the May 24th Philadelphia School Reform Commission

by Ken Derstine
May 26, 2018

SRC Tanya #2
Click on the picture above to view defenders of public education speaking at the May 24th SRC meeting.

Video by Deborah Grill

Transcripts of some of the speakers before the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.
Speakers are in order of appearance before the SRC.

Tanya Parker SRC 5-24-18
Click on Tanya Parker’s picture to read the transcript of her testimony.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman SRC 5-24-18
Click on Linda Cliatt-Wayman’s picture to read the transcript of her testimony.

Tany Bah
Click the picture to read the transcript of Tanya Bah’s testimony.

SRC 5-24-18 Shirley Hooks
Click the picture to read the transcript of Shirley Hooks testimony.

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

Lisa Haver
Click on Lisa Haver’s picture to read the transcript of her testimony,

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



Strawberry Mansion Rallies For Their High School

On May 16th the Strawberry Mansion community rallied to defend their comprehensive high school which Philadelpia Superintendent Hite wants to add to his corporate privatization of public schools agenda. Click the picture to view the video.

For background on the history of Hite’s agenda, see:

Why does Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion High School only enroll 235 out of 2,267 eligible students?