Testimony of Karel Kilimnik to the BOE, Feb 27, 2020

Good evening. The local funder of the corporate disruption of public schools, the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP), is the primary sponsor of the highly deficient High School of Health Sciences Leadership (HS2L) Charter application that should absolutely be denied. PSP’s growing influence in the District should concern everyone committed to public education. PSP has money that buys power and influence. The deceptive practices used with their HS2L charter school application has been an ongoing issue.

Several years ago PSP contacted a neighborhood organization in Germantown about Philadelphia Hebrew Charter School and then listed that organization as a partner. The organization wrote to the SRC decrying that practice. PSP escalated that tactic with Kensington Health Science Academy (KHSA), basically observing at the school and then inserting their observations into their present application. PSP lied to1199c Training & Upgrading Fund when they also included them in the application. 1199c told them to never use their name.

Now we find out that they are among the 5 partners of SchoolKit, item #45. Since the District is allowed to post particles of information instead of a full description there is no specific info given about the contract.

SchoolKit epitomizes corporate education full of slogans with no actual education content. Their website offers business-like phrases littered with no specific information: “We help you manage organizational change to improve student outcomes. Together, we set data-driven goals, build stakeholder buy-in, and monitor progress.”  It is difficult to find any knowledge of pedagogy behind their lofty promises of improvement.

Why is SchoolKit being offered a contract for professional development? What criteria were used?  How many turnaround trainings and building capacity of current staff needs to happen? There are already offices at 440 whose mission is to provide professional development. Is this administration saying their staff is not capable of doing this?  The SchoolKit website is filled with promises and platitudes but nothing about education. Deny Item 45 and use the skills and experience of District staff. The Board needs to show leadership and stop the flood of outsourcing favored by this administration. As we keep saying over and over look to the knowledge and experience in the district not to vendors.