Diane Payne’s testimony transcript from the May 18th SRC meeting

Diane Payne SRC 5-18-17
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SRC priorities are set by their underlying philosophy. Today, the philosophy guiding school districts take two distinct forms. One philosophy is that public education is a cornerstone of democracy, serves the common good, and usually succeeds. The other philosophy is one of supposed “reform” where the language of “school choice” is bantered about to offer those in the schools that struggle a path to what they call “quality school seats.” However, where public schools do not succeed is directly linked to poverty and segregation. The families stuck in poverty, segregation and possibly a poor performing public school, are not offered work on making school improvements, rather they are offered “choice.” Even though choice comes with so many muddied waters…schools that reap tax dollars but may not adhere to public scrutiny, schools that often do not reflect the same student population of nearby public school, well paid CEO’s dotting the city in addition to Dr. Hite, money flowing to management companies and real estate ventures, and a drain on resources for our remaining public schools that are at the top of our budget woes.

Here’s something I know. Dr. Hite, the well paid leader of our district, is a Broad Superintendent Academy graduate. If you don’t know who Eli Broad is and what he does with his vast wealth, you would do well to familiarize yourself.

His aim is to eliminate public education as we know it. It is hard to imagine that a graduate of an academy that was formed for the sole purpose of privatization would be anything less than a believer in privatization.

Here’s something I didn’t know until recently. Dr. Hite is a newish member of Chief’s for Change. If you are unfamiliar with that organization, I again would suggest you familiarize yourself with their mission to undermine public education. Again, it is hard to imagine that a member of such an organization wouldn’t have at the heart of his beliefs the need for privatization. Reformers are adept at co-opting language to make their destruction of public education palatable and believable.

So, just to state the obvious, Dr. Hite is the superintendent of our Philadelphia Public Schools but his affiliations suggest that “public schools” may be a side priority. Our city is at the heart of dismantling an amazing institution.

Diane Payne