Transcript of the testimony of Shirley Hooks at SRC April 26, 2018


Click on the picture above and go to timestamp 22:46 to view Shirley’s testimony.

Shirley Hooks

Good evening everyone, Dr. Hite, and the SRC committee.  My name is Shirley K Hooks and I’m here to speak about the future of the public schools in Philadelphia. As a stakeholder I’m very interested in the underfunding of public schools as a whole. As more charter schools open the public schools are falling to the wayside. I am very concerned for the future of our children. Never in a million years would I have ever thought our children’s education would be in this much jeopardy. It’s alarming that the Philadelphia public schools are closing.

I’m am a graduate of Strawberry Mansion High School and I was informed of a 3 year phase out of the only high school in the Strawberry Mansion community.  Not only are they trying to phase the school out but not allowing 9thgraders in the 2018/2019 school year. This is definitely setting the school up for failure. Instead of this approach why not take some of the tax payer’s dollars and put it to good use by putting back the programs that have been taken away.  Strawberry Mansion started out as a Junior and Senior High School and that’s what it should remain as.  I believe you should give our children a choice and let them decide where they would like to go to school.

I know all too well about phase outs. It happened to me with a company I gave 20 years of service to. I was downsized and my position was eliminated.  Let’s not downsize/ eliminate our children’s education. Let’s invest in it.

Last week I heard some very good testimony and I was touched especially by the student from the school who was very passionate about what the school is lacking. The new plan is to make the school Strawberry Mansion Complex. That sounds like some kind of high end business.

Have anyone of you ever even spent any time in Strawberry Mansion High School or community?  The community is on the rise and so is gentrification. Is this all part of the plan as well to phase out the school and make room for the new and improved upscale community.

As I research about Strawberry Mansion it was a powerhouse winning basketball championships and entries in the George Washington Carver Science Fair.  In 2013 Dr. Hite wanted to close the school but removed it from the list due to community opposition.   And here we are again. This time with a plan and a vision in place of rebuilding and rebranding Strawberry Mansion.  My Grandmother always said when you know better you do better. SRC, you can do better by the community and the students of Strawberry mansion by keeping the doors open and providing the students with the resources needed to make them great and competitive students and also prepare them for their future endeavors such as college, trade schools or the work force.

Shirley K Hooks

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