Testimony of Kristin Luebbert to the BOE, August 20, 2020

Good Evening Board Members and Dr. Hite,  my name is Kristin Luebbert, a Philadelphia educator, PFT member, and Member of Racial Justice Organizing.

Last week, as agenda items were being presented and discussed (and I do appreciate the Board members good questions about expenditures), I had a bit of a flashback: It was a memory of one of those life experiences that most of us have had–that awful feeling when are standing at the grocery store checkout, the belt is full of groceries, and you realize that you simply do not have enough money to pay for it all. What do you do? Well–of course, you decide what you have to put back–what you cannot afford.

And as you stand there (probably listening to the line murmuring discontentedly behind you) you have to decide: What does my family need the most? What are the unnecessary items I can take off that belt and return to the shelf? Well if you are sensible, you keep the milk and return the ice cream. You keep the loaf of bread and put back the cookies. The contract for KJR Consulting is the ice cream and cookies–empty calories that we simply cannot afford at this time.

Despite everything that has happened and keeps happening in this district, I have enough faith in many of the people that work here to believe that they can mentor each other and help each other grow in their professions and positions. Leaders can help newer leaders grow. We have home-grown teachers and administrators who can do this work. I do not think the leadership team needs to be trained by a firm that boasts a “chief enthusiasm officer” and a “solutions savant”.  As a teacher I know that when I have a struggle with a class or a student, I seek out the expertise and counsel of the people I work with, the people who know our context, the people who have taken the time and care to build relationships and trust in our community. Those are the people who can guide us through rough waters, those are the people we need to train us in uncertain times on urgent and difficult topics.

We have resources here in our district and  talented people who have demonstrated effort and care for our students and community. We have people who live and breathe this work–not consultants looking  for the next big issue to make a buck. As poet June Jordan said, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

I urge you to please vote NO on Item 1: the contract with KJR Consulting. We simply cannot afford it. 

And, I urge you to vote YES on Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools. Our students need and deserve it!