Lynda Rubin’s testimony transcript from the April 20th SRC meeting.

Lynda Rubin pic
Click on the pictured to see the video.

The SRC was created in December 2001, when the State took over the School District, because the School District supposedly couldn’t run itself financially and educate its students. But you don’t seem to be capable of doing this either because part of your job is employing and paying qualified people and providing the resources to educate our children.

You take credit for improving the District’s financial bottom line, but mumble when you admit that a large part of this windfall is by not having paid your employees for over 4 years and cutting the heart out of programs in schools all over the city.

The SRC manages a $2.9 billion budget and gets very involved in the awarding of a $90 million food contract and a $60 million bus contract, but doesn’t seem to be able in over 4 years to negotiate a contract for the very people who provide the front-line services of teaching, nurturing and supporting some of the most needy of Philadelphia’s students and families. And by employees, I’m speaking about both the principals of CASA and the teachers, counselors, nurses, etc. in the PFT. It’s easy for you to castigate the union organizations representing these essential employees, but what you’re really doing is undervaluing and disrespecting the actual women and men who have shown up every day without a contract for over 4 years. You wouldn’t expect the outsourced food company to continue to provide their services if you didn’t compensate them for the work they do. But you have only disdain for the work of your own employees.

You don’t seem to value that school districts work best when staffed by educational professionals seeking long-term careers. Professionals who seek stable careers require compensation for themselves, their families and their future and a seat at the table implementing educational policy. The SRC/District administration policies, in contrast, have caused committed educators to flee or not join the District.

In addition, you are giving away the District piece-meal to corporations that make a lot of money in the back-end of running schools by continuing to turn over our schools to privatization companies regardless of their schools’ educational progress, much less the morality of the actions of say, the CEO of Aspira, Inc. Now you want to ally with the with hedge-funders’ backed Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) and turn over the training – and I do mean training instead of an accredited degree program – of teachers and principals to sub-standard companies like Relay Teaching Residency and TNPT who are trying to get their foot in the door in Pennsylvania. You’re even propping up these companies by actually going out and finding them their students as part of the programs. I guess by de-professionalizing teachers and principals, you do get cheaper, more malleable workers, if not real educators immersed in broad pedagogical experiences.

This budget is meaningless without addressing the contract issues of your employees.