Testimony of Lynda Rubin to the BOE, January 30, 2020

Item 9 – Contract with Drexel University re: Environmental issues

When you ask parents to put their children under your care or teachers to do their jobs each day in potentially toxic buildings, if you treat them as partners instead of after-thoughts, they will respond in kind. Trust is earned. Give them the respect and time that you’d give for even the most politically connected and media savvy of parents. Treat them with the same attention, courtesy and caring I’ve seen you give to parents and teachers who come to testify in this room about issues.

Explain the details about what’s wrong and what you don’t know yet, honestly, as you would expect to be informed yourselves. Work with staff and community. Listen to their questions and fears and involve them in keeping people up-to-date honestly, as you finally did with SLA/Franklin HS. Have someone capable of doing that job to head up that responsibility.

I don’t know Dr. Arthur Frank’s qualifications or experience, or how else you expect him to contribute, but from at least what I saw on the video, he’s not the one to quell the fears of parents and staff or engaging them as real partners.

Item 47 – 

If this contract with 1199C and neighborhood schools with CTE programs is the result of the many comments made to this Board by KHSA supporters about the value of building on existing CTE programs throughout the City, I applaud you. KHSA has shined a light on how sustainable, targeted re-investment into local schools can support the rebuilding of a community. Years-long neglect of neighborhoods and their schools has contributed to the hopelessness and anger that teens feel for their futures. We are known as “a City of Neighborhoods” for a reason. Our neighborhoods help define us; their familiarity is part of teens’ feeling comfortable enough to try something new and difficult while feeling respected and supported in their own neighborhood. Just as the District and the Mayor are exploring the benefit of “community schools” including health supports in the schools, let’s include this concept to expand job-learning initiatives in our neighborhood schools. With planning, we have the seeds to regrow our schools and our City, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Health and Science Leadership Charter is just another attempt by businesses and investors who view charter schools as vehicles for expansion of their businesses. The CSO’s evaluation and the soon to be printed APPS report reveal that while the school’s founders may know how to write a business plan and PR campaign, they have not the knowledge or understanding of what it takes to create or run a public school.

I urge you to Vote No on the HS2L application.