Testimony of Lynda Rubin to the Board of Education, December 13, 2018

PSP Teacher Recruitment Website and No New Charters

By Lynda Rubin

I’ve already expressed my shock about the teacher recruitment website, which lists both charter and public school vacancies, financed and run by privately-funded PSP. I am even more shocked that something of this magnitude was enacted without the Board’s knowledge and approval at a public meeting. To have School District jobs listed on a site run by a private company whose first loyalty is to its investors, is frightening.

PSP supports principals and teachers trained by Relay and TFA – both of which are unaccredited. This is who you want to recruit and train District personnel? PSP wants teachers on the cheap and don’t care how long they stay.

PSP has been trying for years to get universal student enrollment for faster and more direct access to recruit our students. Parents loudly rejected the idea because they didn’t want to lose control of these decisions, made in consult with school counselors, but ultimately their decision. Now PSP wants universal applications for teachers??

It doesn’t matter that the district will continue to have a talent office that new hires could access. PSP will do advertising on TV, radio and print. If the District allows public school vacancies to be listed along side of charters and other schools for a central database, it will look like it’s a PSP program that the District is buying into as well as giving PSP recruiters the chance to drive teachers toward their schools’ needs, not ours.  PSP will be the “face” of District teachers for hiring. New teacher applicants will think that’s where they have to go first, not to the District.

PSP has used many inducements over the years to get their foot further in our door, especially through grants and financial hand-outs. But understand, they are a BUSINESS, plain and simple, replete with marketers, investors, real estate and bond brokers, and private vendors who sell packaged educational programs. How many times do you see Santilli and Thomson for Finances and Real Estate, even Business Manager, and Sand and Saidel LLC for legal and bond work on various charter applications?

In 2015 Alex Wigglesworth and Ryan Briggs wrote the article, “Building Booms Over Classrooms, Charters Borrow Nearly $500 million on Taxpayers Dime.” They expose the corporate scheme to makes millions of dollars using String Theory’s operation in 2012: use money from District students to buy bonds to fund real estate and always expand enrollment to get more seed money to further expand the company, then repeat. Read it.

Version 1- “Building Booms Over Classrooms, Charters Borrow Nearly $500 million on Taxpayers Dime.” (includes more on Santilli and Thomson, etc.)

Version 2- Revised, by same reporters w/ some new info.- “Charter Schools: Prefer building booms to classrooms

Chicago is about to put a 3 year moratorium on new charters and are closing failing ones because they can’t afford them.

At what point will you as The School Board take a stand and make the case that this public school district can no longer afford to give money that should be invested in our own schools to new charters, failing charters or expansion of existing ones just because they threaten to sue?

Show that you’re different from the SRC – make a stand for real public education. We can no longer give away piecemeal our public schools because some well-funded foundations have a 20-year business plan.

See also Philadelphia Magazine: “3 Huge Problems with the Charter School Movement.” By Patrick Kerstra