Diane Payne’s SRC testimony transcript – October 13, 2015


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Outsourcing of jobs and services is illustrative of a philosophy that this 5 member unelected commission has selected for our city. You have selected the philosophy of “corporate reform” and month after month through numerous resolutions you vote in lockstep to pursue that philosophy.

The language of “reform” is one of co-opting words, phrases and intentions that – to the causal listener – sounds good but hides the fact that little is changing in terms of closing the achievement gap in a meaningful and scalable way. However, the consequences of this philosophy are: loss of a democratic process, issues of segregation, and tax payer money going to unaccountable and questionable pockets. More and more we are seeing the myths of reform debunked yet you cling to your philosophy. Here are just a few recent noteworthy myth busters:

The NAACP has voted to support a moratorium on charter schools…why…because they don’t provide any meaningful measure of success, they steal our democracy, they are lacking accountability in the use of our tax dollars, they enrich a few, and they increase segregation, yet you vote to open more and fail to close those that your own CSO has deemed failing.

The winners of this year’s Nobel Peace prize in economics, Oliver Hart and Bengt Holstrom have brought into serious question the benefits of merit pay, value added measure for performance and contracting to private companies. They are not the first to do so but you still cling to grading teacher performance on test scores and privatizing our schools and services.

Our own state department of education has soundly rejected the Relay Graduate School of pretend certification yet you still cling to the Mastery connected made-up certification.

You have closed so many of our school libraries that we now only have 6 left. Yet you hand over scare dollars to the Free Library of Philadelphia for a literacy program – Read by 4th. This would be a great idea, if we did in fact have what we need first. The research abounds for the worth of school libraries yet you have made them almost extinct.

The news this week about the 11 schools scheduled for “overhaul” should be good news but laced in the story’s rhetoric were those code words for outsourcing and privatizing: merging, operating on a contractual basis, restarting with significant staff shifts all bode “corporate reform.” This coupled with Dr. Hite’s perplexing statement that – despite investments these schools haven’t improved.

Which brings me to my question today: *what are the specific investments you made to support these struggling schools and *please define as stated in the article: merging, managing on a contractual basis and restarting with significant staff shifts?