Transcript of the testimony of Ruth I. Birchett

Click the picture above and move the slider to timestamp 5:11 to view Ruth’s testimony.

Ruth Birchett
Ruth Birchett testifying before the SRC

Dear School Reform Commission,

I stand today, as an alumnus of Strawberry Mansion High School, which at the time of my graduation was a middle school. Affectionately referred to as the first true graduating class, we completed studies from 7ththrough 9thgrade and our names and artifacts from our era are sealed within the 1964 cornerstone of the school. I stand as a stakeholder of Strawberry Mansion High School and reject the School District of Philadelphia’s (PSD) tendency to value only the opinions of parents and students in important decision-making matters. Clearly, as taxpayers and citizens of the county of Philadelphia, we are justified in expressing our concerns regarding matters associated with the funding and operation of this more than $3 billion public funded entity.

I oppose the School District of Philadelphia proposed plans for Strawberry Mansion High School, as conceived. The plan is absent of substantive input and/or collaborative design by community and school stakeholders. It is wholly unreasonable for the PSD to expect that it’s plan, conceived in isolation, to not be met with rejection.

The success and destiny of our community is directly linked the success and destiny of our schools. Therefore, plans that involve such massive changes as identified in PSD documents should not have been devised and advanced for spoon-feeding to us. This was done without collaboration in the planning and development with those most affected, namely, students, families and community. I therefore request that the SDP withdraw its plans to be launched in September 2018 in preference for sitting down with all stakeholders and forming a work group to develop a plan better suited to the needs of our school and community. My contact information is noted below.


Ruth I. Birchett, Founder
Heritage Community Development Corporation