Lisa Haver SRC testimony – February 16, 2017

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Renaissance Schools, Promise Academies, Turnaround Schools, Redesign Schools, Transformation Schools….and now this year’s model, Priority Schools.

This was a scam from the beginning. The SRC approved a $200,000 contract with Cambridge Education Incorporated who clearly did not fulfill the terms of that contract. They scheduled meetings during the day, some at 8:30 AM. The meetings gave community members the false illusion that they would some influence over what would happen to the school. The report Cambridge issued is incomplete and dishonest. They reached conclusions that cannot be validated.

APPS members attended meetings at six of the eleven schools. We heard parents at every one of those schools say they did not want to lose their teachers or their principal. They actually believed the district when it said they were listening to them.

The principal at Blankenburg now has to reapply for his job. How do you justify treating people with such disrespect? Maybe you think that Mr. Parker is bad principal based on the test scores, but the parents and teachers didn’t think so. Blankenburg was a receiving school for more than one school closed by the SRC. It takes students from six homeless shelters. Maybe not having even one counselor for two years made it a little harder for him to be the principal.

Maybe having to make do with the doomsday budget and the bare bones budget that the SRC passed has made it harder for him and Mr. Williams at KHSA and all of the teachers you want to move around for no reason other than to make it look like you’re doing something.

How does throwing out the McDaniels teachers change the fact that it has one principal, one security guard and one nurse—for two separate facilities four blocks apart?

The message to principals and teachers? Yes, you have worked without enough support staff, yes you had to cover classes because we screwed up when we outsourced substitutes, yes you pay hundreds of dollars of your own money because we don’t buy enough supplies, no we still haven’t filled many teacher vacancies—but we are going to blame you again. Without being honest enough to say that.

And no this won’t stop us from paying lip service to concerns about student trauma at the same time we contribute to it by destabilizing schools.

You got rid of the most of the teachers two years ago at Munoz-Marin when you tried to give it to Aspira before the parents stopped you. Two years later, you tell the teachers who chose to come to help a struggling school that now they have to go too.

Improving schools means lowering class size, putting back reading programs that work, putting back support staff, treating principals and staff with respect.

The people at that table never take responsibility. It’s so much easier to punish the people who have to clean up your mess.