Defenders of Public Education Speak before the BOE, October 22, 2020

Click on the title to read the transcript of the speaker’s testimony.

Teaching and Learning

Board Devaluation of Effective Teaching, Learning, and Health by Rachel Boschen

Signature U.S. Education Initiatives by Barbara McDowell Dowdall

Policy Changes

Do Not Eliminate Renaissance Charter Policy 141 by Deborah Grill

Board Must Not Deregulate Renaissance Charters by Lisa Haver

Changes to Renaissance Charter Policy 141 by Karel Kilimnik

Consequences of Changes to the Wellness Policy and Policy 141 by Robin Lowry

Outsourcing

Board Spending on Contract with Playworks by Jennifer Byiers

Vote NO on Canvas Learning Management Platform by Kristin Luebbert

Against Outsourcing Equity Work by Maddie Luebbert

School Reopening and Charter Renewals

NEBB Certification– Credentials and Reports? [Ventilation] by Diane Payne

What is the Rush to Renew Keystone Charter? by Ilene Poses

Board Should Not Deregulate Renaissance Charters

Deletion of Policy 141 Cedes Power to Harrisburg 

by Lisa Haver

In 2010, the state-controlled School Reform Commission  approved the Renaissance Policy portion of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s “Imagine 2014”.  Policy 141 escalated  the privatization of public schools and the diversion of taxpayer funds to privately-managed schools.  The companies awarded contracts to manage  those schools promised to “effect dramatic change”  at “chronically underperforming schools”.  The District, over the past ten years, has spent hundreds of millions on Renaissance schools while getting very little in return. Although the Initiative stipulated  that “Renaissance Schools will be granted greater autonomy in exchange for increased accountability”, there has actually been less accountability, as seen by the repeated renewals of Renaissance charters that fail to meet basic standards, let alone surpass District performance.  

Much of the funding for this method of charter expansion came from a major grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Great Schools Compact Grant, accepted by the SRC in 2011 without public deliberation. The Philadelphia School Partnership advanced its privatization agenda while acting as manager and fiscal agent of the Great Schools Compact Committee, whose meetings were not open to the public.

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Ears on the Board of Education: October 22, 2020

by Diane Payne

This month’s Board of Education Action Action Meeting featured administration PowerPoints that again failed to reflect the experiences and needs of those on the ground.  Many of the seventy-four registered speakers testified to this lack.  The Hite administration now requires Pre-K to Grade 2 staff to return to buildings on November 9th to prepare for the return of students on November 30th–in spite of still incomplete ventilation reports.  COVID’s main form of transmission is through the air.  People of color are statistically more likely to contract and to die from the illness.  Many older District buildings with asbestos, mold and lead were unsafe for children and adults  before COVID.  Now staff, students, families, and community members are being asked to trust that the District gets this right.  The neglect of the District has caused the illness and impending death of one teacher (that we know of) from mesothelioma.  Failure this time will have immediate and devastating consequences.

Present

The Board is down to six of the nine required members.  Chris McGinley resigned in April, 2020, but Mayor Kenney has yet to reconvene his Nominating Panel.

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Defenders of Public Education Speak before the BOE, June 25, 2020

Click on an individual’s name to read a transcript of their testimony.

Deborah Grill

Lisa Haver

Karel Kilimnik

Kristin Luebbert

Barbara McDowell Dowdall

Cheri Micheau

Diane Payne (oral testimony)

Diane Payne (written testimony)

Ilene Poses

Zoe Rooney