Click the picture and go to timestamp 17:50 to view Diane Payne’s testimony.
Thanks to politicians in Harrisburg, most of which hold Philadelphia in disdain, but also helped by our own democratic representatives, Dwight Evans and Anthony Williams, a hammer was used on Philadelphia to punish not transform our district. Act 46 ushered in a 2-decade experiment on the backs of poor, black, brown, and disenfranchised Philadelphians.
Winners under the state imposed leadership of the SRC include: politicians, highly paid superintendents & CEO’s (plural because we have not only Dr.Hite’s generous salary but the CEO’s of the 92 charter schools in the city as well), non-profits and foundations using their judgement on what our children need, ALEC the ultra-right wing organization that spoon feeds legislation in support of the destruction of public education, at-will employees, a transient workforce, private companies that provide goods and services in lieu of district employees, Philadelphia School Partnership the ultra-right-wing chapter of a nationwide effort to privatize the institution of public education, and charter school dynasties.
Losers include: the thousands of children that have been the guinea pigs of this takeover, communities that have had their schools closed, democracy, school libraries staffed with certified school librarians, a stable and respected workforce of professionals, a stable and respected workforce of support staff, institutional memory, transparency, trust, healthy buildings, tax dollars, and did I say children.
There is no easy fix to urban education problems because as a society we refuse to address the many complexities of urban poverty. Pulling the plug on the SRC will in no way fix our problems. But, it will be a step toward democracy. As a city, it is our task to see that this new appointed school board forges a path built on transparency, trust, and community engagement as we work toward a full democratic outcome of a democratically elected board as can be found in every other district in the state.