Testimony of Barbara Dowdall to the Board of Education, June 27, 2019

Resolution 81

Good evening. Noting that the stated purpose of this resolution* is to “reduce the effects of Assistant Superintendent turnover and attrition,” I would offer suggestions for both achieving the goal and saving $200,000.

  1. Conduct exit interviews with exiting assistant superintendents to discern why it is their tenures are so fleeting.
  2. Free up Dr. Hite’s time to allow him to conduct trainings as he has a proven track record of staying longterm right here in Philadelphia!
  3. Approach Eli Broad, founder of the Broad Superintendents’ Academy to gift the district with the funds to cover the cost of other sessions. Our own superintendent received his training there and just yesterday, Mr. Broad himself confirmed that he has so much money, he would welcome a tax increase for himself and his fellow billionaires.**
  4. Redesign hiring criteria for assistant superintendents to require their having demonstrated longevity in their career paths leading to that post:  at least 3 years as a classroom teacher and at least 4 years as a principal.   {Previously in the SDP, just high school department heads were required to have 5 years experience teaching in high schools}
  5. Appeal to Mark Gleason (long-deserving of the title Assistant Superintendent) and the Philadelphia School Partnership for more funds. Just recently, the school district demonstrated their confidence in Mr. Gleason’s talent in redesigning a high school’s grade configuration after communicating (through silence) that the school community’s own carefully-constructed proposal was not up to snuff.
  6. Transfer from consulting the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for organizational charts, school assessments and closures to the Philly Consulting Group (PCG).***
  7. Invite parents, school staff and students in to share concerns about their schools’ conditions. ****
  8. Insist on candidates who have demonstrated valuing and supporting professionally-staffed libraries in every school. The vetted-thus assistant superintendents may not stay any longer in their positions, but students will be happier and be better readers.*****  {Tho not directly related to the attrition issue, a school police officer remonstrated with me after the last meeting over my egregious omission of this, his and my favorite topic}

** https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/25/opinion/taxes-debates-eli-broad.html
***Children of Public School Graduates, Public School Graduates, Public School Working and Retired Staff, Parents of Public School Students and Graduates, Philadelphia Residents and Public Officials Advocating for Public Schools. Directory supplied on request.
*****Opinion: All schools and all students need libraries