Eyes on the Board of Education: December 10, 2020

by Karel Kilimnik 

Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela

This December edition of Eyes brings the deja vu that comes with seeing the same business interests circle back. Of this month’s twenty-seven Action Items, almost half are for contract extensions or  amendments–and for whose benefit?   We see the expansion of grants from non-profits  and the perennial flow of money to Relay GSE  “to  build a quality teacher pipeline” (Item 14). Former Board member Chris McGinley referred to the organization as “the Relay Fake Graduate School of Education.” 

The Hite administration now wants to add a fourth partner to their Teaching Fellows cohort of Temple and Drexel (neither of whom will  be paying PILOTS nor making a substantial donation as Penn just did) and Relay.   

At a time when life-and-death decisions are being made about whether to send students and staff back into buildings, transparency becomes even more important. But it is still  hard to find crucial information, one example being the inadequate Item descriptions.  Last week, Chief Financial Uri Monson described the District’s financial picture as “fluid”. What happened to the Board’s promise of only considering “essential” business? Why is basic charter reform still not on the table–but layoffs and school closings are?  

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Eyes on the Board of Education: October 22, 2020

by Karel Kilimnik

With rage over the devaluing of Black lives still simmering in the city and across the country, we should  look at the continued underfunding of the city’s schools, whose students are primarily Black and Brown. The pandemic has laid bare the inequities our students have experienced when they walked into crumbling, dirty buildings often with mold and sometimes asbestos; no toilet paper or hand soap; teachers having to purchase basic supplies; limited after-school activities. Now those students experience inequalities in technology and internet access; availability of school supplies and food; evictions amid housing uncertainty; loss of jobs ; cutting off of healthcare at a time when covid-19 remains active in our communities; and a general escalation of trauma and anxiety on every level.

The Hite administration has created an Equity Coalition, yet when an opportunity arises to actually pay participants the District overlooks those who have worked on these issues in favor of awarding contracts to consultants (Item 29) such as Steppingstone or creating an Equity Partners Fellowship (Item 2).  Dr Hite, a 2005 Broad Fellow, has instituted a welfare system for private entities seeking business opportunities in public education. 

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Defenders of Public Education Speak before the BOE, July 23, 2020


Click on the individual’s name to read their testimony.

Dr. Robin Cooper, President of CASA

Dana Carter

Barbara McDowell Dowdall

Lisa Haver

Karel Kilimnik

Stephanie King

Robin Lowry

Maddie Luebbert

Charlie McGeehan

Cheri Micheau

Diane Payne

Zoe Rooney

Dr. Sonia Rosen

Lynda Rubin