Diane Payne’s SRC testimony – May 19, 2016

Diane Payne SRC testimony 5-19-16
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Happening across the country and most definitely in Philadelphia is an ideological direction away from the institution of public schools in favor of the corporate model of multi-tiered charter, voucher, tax-credit, and cyber schools competing with traditional public institutions. This SRC’s pro corporate ideology can be seen every month in SRC resolutions passed in unison and with little or no question or discussion among the commissioners and with the insider influence of corporate PSP. We are allowing this body and its corporate insiders to shut down a cornerstone of our democracy, an institution whose mission is to serve the common good and educate every child with no profit motive involved… our public schools.

As parents, teachers and citizens of this city…we forsake our job when we don’t fight for the common good. With every resolution that is approved which supports corporate agendas…we hand over more of our democratic voice. We are giving it away in the belief that market forces will be the fix our schools need but the only thing market forces will do is succeed in cashing in on the billion dollar public education tax pot. Our children will be the commodities in this education venture capital world.

You have been presented with credible evidence and questions challenging the merit of your renaissance charter move for Wister, Huey and Cooke. No law is making you turn these schools over it is your choice and as Councilwoman Gym pointed out on Tuesday, you set up systems of failure in our schools and then cede those institutions to the charter industry. You put off the vote of 4 charter office recommended non-renewals last month in a perplexing move to wait a month on a trumped up reason of the city controller’s report when that has never made a difference before and you even acknowledged it won’t now.

And worst of all, your cloud of corporate reform prohibits any real conversations about what our schools really need to be the best they can be. Public schools are not perfect. But, when their mission is to educate all children for the common good, I will take that any day over helping the 1% become richer on the backs of our children with false promises made by non-educators, hedge fund managers and market capitalists. I am requesting you remove Wister, Cooke and Huey from renaissance charter status and vote to return the 4 failing charters of Stetson, Olney, Vare and Audenried to public school status. Also, will you respond to the questions and evidence in Councilwoman Gym’s report regarding Great Oaks Charter School in writing with your proof of why her points are inaccurate or wrong?