Testimony of Lisa Haver to the BOE, June 25, 2020

Money is power. When you add up the $$ that the Board is sending to outside vendors, in this month’s agenda alone, you see that declarations that the Status Quo will change are empty ones. The same foundations and organizations—PSP and Wm Penn Foundations—whose wealth, that is the wealth of their corporate donors, has given them the power to make major decisions about funding, curriculum, forcing out teachers in the name of reform are joined this month by the Neubauer foundation. Their money and power means they get more than three minutes to plead their case.

This agenda provides more evidence that Board continues the SRC legacy of outsourcing more District services to outside vendors. We heard a lot of speeches about how the Board will address systemic racism, but when one follows the money, we can see that not much will change. Wm Penn Foundation, PSP, Neubauer Foundation continue taking over District leadership; 12 Plus, Teach Plus, District Management Group, National Training Network, Old Sow Coaching replace District positions.

And of course renewing substandard charters, led by highly paid CEOs, with no objection from the Board.

The Board must listen to the voices of the students who want them to spend less on policing and more on services.  That means the Board must change its spending priorities NOW. Our students deserve to be in safe schools with adequate support staff.  They deserve to have school libraries with certified school librarians. The Board, who should be increasing its community engagement instead of abolishing that Committee, must make a real commitment to making sure that our students are taken care of, not the money interests who have been profiting off of them for too long.

(In response to Dr. McIver’s statement about Zoe Rooney’s tweets, I added the following remarks.)It is crucial that the Board be accountable to the public. We do not have an elected Board. The Mayor has shut out the public from the entire selection process conducted by his Nominating Panel. There is no opportunity for parents, students, or community members to vet candidates for the Board. When a legitimate question is raised about a possible conflict of interest,  Board members should respond to that.