School District of Philadelphia Board of Education Action Meeting Testimony

December 15, 2022

by Lisa Haver

Marshall’s or Home Goods is where the shopper takes one thing off the shelf and another one pops right up. The Board withdrew Item 2, but kept Item 25.  And a Chalkbeat story says another consultant contract will be popping up in the near future.

And most of them seem to be for more community engagement. Look around.  The board has been very effective in stanching public engagement through its speaker suppression policies. The Board should really be ashamed of that and should end its speaker suppression policies.   Private meetings by invitation–in which the board and the administration decides who to invite and who can be heard–is not a substitution for open meetings where everyone has a right to be heard–not just by the 9 people on the board but by their fellow students, parents, educators and community members.  People who can join together to defend public education.

The board knows, or should know what students and schools really need: Smaller class size.  More support staff.  Certified teacher librarians in fully open and staffed school libraries.  Engaging electives. Smaller class size–yes, I am saying that twice.

As little standardized testing as possible.  It hasn’t worked for 25 years and it’s not going to start working now.  Deny all new charter applications.  Again, if privatization worked, we would be living in the golden age of education. But it doesn’t, any more than trickle-down economics works or ever will. Paying for separate administrations for every privately managed charter school is the most expensive and ineffective system one could imagine. That money should be going into public school classrooms. Paying charter CEOs hundreds of thousands of dollars–to operate one or 2 schools–should be outlawed.