By Diane Payne
March 5, 2016
APPS Ears on the SRC: February 16, 2016
This special meeting of the SRC was another jam-packed one—35 speakers listed. The final vote on twelve new charter applications was the sole agenda for this meeting. Farah Jimenez acted as Interim Chair; Marge Neff was on medical leave but present by phone.
Click here to read the entire Ears on the SRC: February 16 and 18, 2016
By Karel Kilimnik
Welcome to the Sixth Edition of Eyes on the SRC.
A note to our readers: this analysis is based on what the SRC has released to date. The SRC often adds new resolutions up until the day of the meeting. We will review the list periodically and let you know of any new resolutions. In addition, rules for speaking appear to be fluid at this time. From the district website:
Revisions to current practice regarding speaker order:
The School Reform Commission will be implementing new protocols based on two general principles. First, it is important to group speakers on the same or similar topics at Action Meetings in order to give Commissioners the ability to gain the big picture on each topic. Second, the Commission would like to encourage new voices and topics at meetings.
Beginning January 21st, 2016, the School Reform Commission (SRC) will be enacting the following changes to the order in which speakers testify at SRC Action Meetings:
- Student speakers will continue to be prioritized and normally will speak first.
- Other speakers will be grouped by topic, based on the order in which their topics were registered.
- Speakers who did not speak at the previous meeting, will be allowed to speak first within their topic group, and followed by those speakers who did have the opportunity to speak at the previous meeting.
- Speakers on resolutions will no longer be prioritized, given that all speakers have an opportunity to speak before votes are taken on resolutions. These speakers will be grouped by topic and the time at which they register along with all other speakers. [Emphasis added]
When you call to register to speak, please ask what number your topic is. Let’s hold them to their new set of rules. Fasten your seatbelt for the ride. It may be bumpy.
Next SRC meeting: Thursday January 21, 5:30 PM. To register to speak you must call 215.400.4180 by 4:30 January 20. It’s best to identify yourself as a teacher, parent, or community member as the rules stipulate that only “one member of an organization can register to speak.”
by Diane Payne
December 23, 2015
Search and Seize
December 17th brought another jam packed SRC meeting. It is not unusual for the SRC to change the rules to suit its current agenda, and that is exactly what happened even as people entered the building. Bags of all attendees were searched, but apparently not to prevent dangerous items from being brought in. All food items were confiscated and thrown away. No explanation and no remorse—just into the trash can. No one was warned or advised ahead of time. It didn’t matter that those food items were to sustain members of the public coming right from work, coming with children, or coming with medical issues. Of course, the SRC had no notice posted on its website that food is not permitted. How would anyone know when the SRC members themselves eat and drink in full view?
Charter School Lobby
Present was a large showing of charter school proponents, most there to demand that the SRC hand Wister over to Mastery, who provided dinner and tee shirts. In fact, the district gave them access to the café inside the building. This sent a clear message to public school parents that the churn and disruption which can rip neighborhoods apart would not only continue but be enabled by the district itself.
Dr. Hite’s opening remarks praised his administration’s continued influx of technology, which he claims will help our children prepare for college and career. It is hard to understand, though, why the district is using its very limited dollars on more technology rather than make sure all schools have enough teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors. Could that be because ultimately the plan is to move to a blended learning/computer based model of education? The SRC has already set aside $10 million for these types of unproven programs—ones where our students are stuck in front of computers for hours each day. The district calls substituting a computer screen for a teacher “personalized learning”, but it is really more jargon for “let’s try to educate our children on the cheap.”
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by Diane Payne
The November 19, 2015 meeting was a jam-packed event with 71 speakers. The anger from parents and community members of Cooke, Huey and Wister, trying to save their schools from being turned over to charter companies, was felt by everyone in the room. A number of teachers and students, whose schools have been thrown into chaos due to the SRC’s outsourcing of substitutes, expressed their frustration with the district’s decision not to cancel the Source4Teachers contract. It is not possible to include every facet of this meeting, so a few highlights will have to suffice
At each meeting, questions are put to Superintendent Hite and to the members of the SRC, most of which go unanswered. Here are some of the questions which were asked last Thursday:
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