Testimony of Lynda Rubin to the BOE, November 21, 2019

I’m concerned with the growing trend of outsourcing programs to private companies and accepting grants to fund the hiring of their personnel to infuse their ideology and practices into our internal structures. To start, I refer you to the August 2019 Eyes on the Board of Education written by APPS co-founder Karel Kilimnik about the breadth of outsourcing in our District. https://appsphilly.net/eyes-on-the-board-of-education-august-15-2019/

The Broad Foundation, Koch Foundation, Walton Foundation, etc. are moving to control public education across the country making it, well, non-public run. Cities throughout the country are discovering the perils of such turnovers with increasing academic failures and misuse of public money.

The Broad Foundation started its influence over public ed in Philadelphia by unleashing Dr. Arlene Ackerman who upended several school districts before her tumultuous tenure here in Philadelphia.
Boys Latin Charter School, which you’re considering for renewal tonight was founded with money from the wife of Jeffrey Yass, a founder of the hedge-fund Susquehanna Group and Board member of the Cato Institute, known for working to shape policy to align with conservative and libertarian values benefiting the wealthy at the expense of services to regular people.

I’m speaking against Action Item 7 for Attuned Education Partners, to “serve as an external design partner for refining our Pk-3 Literacy Framework” and to continue to assist in updating our current Action Plan. Attuned Education Partners is run and staffed by those versed in KIPP strategic planning, methods that earn them Broad prizes, and whose backgrounds come from TFA, Relay graduates and instructors, with their dubious credentials. Item 7 is designed for them to continue to influence our Action Plan and Frameworks. The item states the need is because we don’t “have the internal resources with the required expertise and capacity” and again I ask, Why not? Isn’t this the purpose of a Board of Education publicly run School District?

As a counselor, I’m especially offended by Item 24, the KIPP/Neubauer Foundation plan to insinuate themselves into our high school and college counseling program. We need more counselors, not a KIPP/Neubauer entré into the running of our District. Of note is that the Student Achievement Committee members were belatedly presented with a different, more expansive version of the plan right before their recommendation vote, which provided for additional financial input by the District at Neubauer Foundation’s insistence. The Student Achievement Committee voted unanimously to Not Recommend this item, but as with charter renewals, that appears to have changed in private discussions.

Considering they tried to slip in more years and costs to the District in its proposals, I have no doubt that you will declare it a success in a year and extend the contract, bringing KIPP/Neubauer in as you have the Broad Foundation to pay for Broad jobs known as “residencies.”

I question why the Board continually votes to invite self-interested partners in who are looking to expand their values and financial foothold into the SDP.