I am Karel Kilimnik co-founder of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, retired teacher, and PFT member. I am here today to speak about the ongoing bid for power, ideology, and greed by this administration. As you continue to wreak havoc on our public schools you strip away any trace of democracy, you brazenly attempt to silence parent, teacher, and community voices. We will not be silenced by your strong-arm tactics. In your latest assault turning three neighborhood schools over to charter operators there is tremendous push-back. Did you think you could select 5 parents from each school in a random lottery drawing to help select the charter operator to run their school and no one would say anything? This reminds me of the SRC – handpicked and unaccountable.
You consistently attempt to shut out parent, teacher , and community voice yet allow the voice of corporate America to wrap its tentacles around our students and schools. Schools4Teachers is a great example. You spent $34 million to bring in an incompetent company to provide substitute services. They can’t. So teachers wind up covering and stressing out over losing essential preparation time. Students lose out on instructional time and building relationships with teachers. And what do you do? Fiddle around with the contract, making weak excuses instead of terminating it. Why do you persist in doing this? Is it union busting? Do you have special connections with this business? You would have been fired in the corporate world for such an enormous mistake.
Take Resolution A-19 coming up for a vote tonight. You have an open door policy for corporate education reformers whose goal is to make a profit off of our students. Their fingerprints are everywhere “including design decisions on autonomous schools” (what does this even mean?) Shouldn’t teachers and the principal be doing this? This Resolution includes “adding staff capacity to the Charter Schools Office”. Why do you need to hire an outside firm?
Okay, let’s do the roll call for these pricey consultants so everyone can see the corporate influence at work. Here are the consultants listed in Resolution A19.
EDBuild board members include the executive director of NYCAN and the general counsel for StudentsFirst. Bell Creek Consulting appears to be an extension of McKinsey & Company who gave us Paul Kihn and then took him back last spring. EDPro’s founder and president worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Education Pioneers collaborates with the Broad Foundation where Dr. Hite trained at its unaccredited superintendents academy. Why are outside people deciding who the District needs to run it?
My last question. We are entering the second round of charter school applications. Is Commissioner Jimenez still overseeing the Charter School Office?