A grass-roots organization of parents, community members, and school staff, fighting to defend public education. We work together to provide analysis and demand accountability from the School District of Philadelphia to provide students with a high-quality education.
With all District schools and offices open, the Board again held a meeting in which almost half of its members stayed home. They declined, without explanation, to attend in person, including Maria McColgan, a vocal supporter of the “open schools no matter what” faction. Throughout the major Omicron surge, the Board has ignored health and safety needs of students and staff in crowded and poorly ventilated buildings. Board President Joyce Wilkerson and Board Members Mallory Fix Lopez, Reginald Streater, Lisa Salley and Leticia Egea-Hinton attended in person, along with the Student Representatives and Dr. Hite. Three Board members–Maria McColgan, Julia Danzy, and Cecelia Thompson– opted for the safety of a remote location. Board member Thompson has chosen not only to be remote but to be invisible. When called upon she responds but there is no visible confirmation of her presence and engagement at any point in the meeting. Why?
The January Action Meeting had been billed as a remote one until members of the community raised objections on social media. The Board reopened all District school buildings this year despite the lack of personal protective equipment, timely Covid testing, and adequate ventilation in classrooms, where there is no social distancing. Yet the Board, with a couple of exceptions, continued to hold only virtual meetings, with some Board members in the auditorium and others at home. Last month it was not clear whether Board Member Cecelia Thompson was present in any way as neither her image nor her name ever appeared. Every once in a while her voice was heard. Ms. Thompson spoke at a rally in Harrisburg earlier this month. There is no reason for her not to attend the Board meeting in Philadelphia. APPS expects all Board members to attend the January meeting in person. The auditorium provides more than enough space for safe distancing.