Donate today!
view counter

Sen. Anthony Williams steps in at West, but still no clear resolution

By Benjamin Herold on Jun 28, 2010 04:38 PM

With no end in sight for the District's ongoing investigation into an alleged conflict of interest among parents on the School Advisory Council (SAC) at West Philadelphia High, State Senator Anthony H. Williams stepped into the breach last week to help mediate the lingering tensions between factions of the West community and Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

"I think people of good intentions were trying to help move the process forward, and I have high regard for Dr. Ackerman," said Williams, who hosted a meeting aimed at bringing the sides together after receiving complaints about the District's handling of the process from civic and neighborhood associations in the surrounding community.

"As someone who wants to make sure a good high school returns to West, I wanted to make sure that all parties with good intentions are at the table and feel comfortable with one another," said Williams in an interview. "Hopefully, [the meeting] derived some level of trust on both sides."

West SAC co-chairs Shirley Randleman and Joy Herbert were present at the meeting. Both expressed readiness to put this year's tumultuous Renaissance process behind them and focus on supporting West in the coming school year, when the school will continue to receive extra District supports as an Empowerment School and will, apparently, make a second attempt at finding a Renaissance match.

Joy Herbert, co-chair of the SAC and one of the parents at the center of the complaint, is conciliatory but frustrated. "I don't want to make it sound like it’s us against the District," said Herbert. "We need to move on, but the only thing that is moving on right now is time."

West's SAC voted to partner the school next year with Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now. But on the verge of a vote to ratify the match, the School Reform Commission pulled the resolution, with Chair Robert Archie citing an unspecified last-minute complaint. District officials subsequently pointed to a potential "conflict of interest " on the part of four of the eight parent members of the SAC. The four received payments to do parent outreach from the Philadelphia Education Fund, a likely subcontractor for the Hopkins team.

Ackerman has since said that the parents did nothing wrong, but the "investigation" by the District inspector general continues for a fourth week. West was pulled off the Renaissance list for a year, further dividing and frustrating the community.

There is still no timeline for its conclusion, said District spokesperson Fernando Gallard on Monday. "There is definitely going to be a report at the end of the investigation, but I have no update on when it will be closed."

Gallard also could not provide any updates on the supports planned for West next school year.

For his part, Williams hopes that parents and District administrators are in a better position now to work out the details of West's future together.

"Whatever happens, the core group of parents who are truly engaged need to have their voices heard," said Williams. "[Moving forward], I'm hoping that Dr. Ackerman can be fully engaged at a closer level so the same missteps don't occur again."

Click Here
view counter

Comments (4)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 28, 2010 10:00 pm

Whatever, Williams, you put Charter Schools before our own Public Schools. Seems like he is trying to gain public support, but stay out of it. I think politicians make it worse when they get involved (example: Bob Brady always sticking his nose into the teacher contract negotiations and saying a 3% raise is good). Next topic please.....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 29, 2010 8:04 am

Williams?? Sure, no conflict of interest there. His campaign was just funded with MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of dollars donated by people only interested in CHARTER schools. So how can this clown be objective? Even with all of that money, he lost to Wagner?? LOL.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 29, 2010 1:19 pm

You are so right, of all people to try and help a public school. Anthony Williams good by!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on July 3, 2010 2:33 pm

Senator Anthony Williams isn't even the senator in this area. Senator Vincent Hughes is. Wow, Tony Williams need to follow schools in his legislative district, including his own charter school, that were years behind in federal reporting, and accounting.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On

Read the latest print issue

Philly Ed Feed

Recent Comments


Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy