Karel Kilimnik’s SRC testimony -February 16, 2017.


Good evening. Remember the scorched earth policy during the Vietnam War? This is the current district leadership’s policy towards our public schools. Destroy what you can’t or actually chose not to change. Instead of insuring that every school has the staffing and resources it needs for all of its students, Dr Hite creates a new transformation plan every year that promotes churn and burn. Remember Dr Hite is a graduate of the unaccredited, uncertified make-believe Broad Superintendents Academy founded by billionaire Eli Broad, a certified no-nothing of pedagogy.

First, it was giving parents a choice about remaining with the district or being run by a charter. That didn’t work so then he went to putting 3 schools into the Renaissance

Charter program. And then there’s the four schools assigned to the Turnaround Network led by Eric Becoates, known in his last district for using school resources for his personal benefit. How are they doing?

So, now we arrive at Dr Hite’s latest project to create chaos and turmoil in our district –Priority Schools. A private company was hired to basically do his job of finding out what works and what doesn’t in these schools. Cambridge Education was given $200,000. They need to refund that money as their report has no data to support their recommendations. Read the APPS Overview of their report for details.

Dr Hite is a fan of data and yet this report is accepted.

Here are my questions-

How much influence will the suburban led Philadelphia School Partnership have in these transformations?

According to the Notebook article by Dale Mezzacappa a recently released federal analysis found that these turnaround plans did not improve student achievement or life outcomes. Dr Hite why do you persist in using this model?

McDaniel School plans to use Jounce Partners, a consulting firm that has mostly worked with charter schools and was turned down last week for their proposed charter school application that was so weak you could have driven a tractor trailer through it. Why are they being hired?

It looks like you just rolled the dice to see which schools were plopped in the Turnaround Network. I, unlike any SRC commissioner or Dr Hite actually attended meetings. At Blankenburg I consistently heard how beloved the principal and teachers were and how parents in attendance did not want to lose them. Here’s my questions for these unlucky Turnaround Network schools – if the principal has to reapply for his/her position then who is overseeing the selection of teachers also applying for their positions? Are you tracking where 20% of the teachers go so you can apply these conditions to their selected school for next year’s merry-go-round of transformations?

As any true educator knows these transformations do not address the root causes of lack of resources and the high rate of poverty in our city. We need a high quality school district that works for every student in Philadelphia.