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Philly education delegation heading to Denver

By Anonymous on Jan 3, 2012 02:32 PM

Mayor Michael Nutter and School Reform Commission Chair Pedro Ramos will join a delegation on a visit to Denver to learn how that district has handled district and charter cooperation. Today, they spoke at a press conference at Dunbar Elementary Promise Academy.

According to WHYY/NewsWorks, the trip is being paid for by the Gates Foundation. The trip is being paid for by the William Penn Foundation. Last month, the foundation announced that Philadelphia would receive a $100,000 grant to support planning for its "Great Schools Compact."

The delegation will include:

  • Mayor Michael Nutter

  • School Reform Commission Chair Pedro Ramos

  • School Reform Commissioner Wendell Pritchett

  • Mayor’s Chief Education Officer and Executive Advisor Lori Shorr

  • Philadelphia School Partnership Executive Director Mark Gleason

  • Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools Executive Director Robert Fayfich

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Comments (14)

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 3, 2012 5:00 pm

We need them to stay here and fix/reverse the cuts to ELL, Nurses, and Instrumental Music, etc. Fix the PSD, and there's no need for charters...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 3, 2012 9:22 pm

Ms. Cheng,
Join us tomorrow at 440 at 4pm to raise our voices in opposition to the recent layoffs of nurses and other essential school personnel. There will be an opportunity for you to say a few words on this topic if you wish.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 3, 2012 11:31 pm

Wow, would love to, but can't tomorrow. Are you organized for the SRC meetings in any way?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 3, 2012 9:05 pm

I agree--Charters are just a way to further segregate the kids and of course, to make money for the rich once again, ripping off the money designed for the poor under the guise of school choice. It's stunning that even what all the cherry picking and intramural testing etc., charters STILL scores worse than the scorned Public Scores. In other words, they still suck.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 3, 2012 8:29 pm

Cool. It is good to see them going out and learning what others do and the issues that arise. Charter schools are not going away. We need our leaders to be learned professionals and deep thinkers about how to govern schools in the best interests of children and their school communities.

Governance issues are not going away and neither are our leadership issues.

I just hope this is more than just an exercise in how to turn more public schools into privately owned and managed schools. My view is that our public schools and public school system is a "public trust" for our students and their school communities and a "common good" for America.

Public schools need to remain public schools and charter schools need to be operated as public schools. Many charter school founders do understand that. I hope Pedro and the SRC understand that, too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 3, 2012 9:14 pm

As ALWAYS, you are much more fair minded and/or optimistic than I. I trust Pedro who I know a bit but he does semi run or is part owner of a charter school so he does have self interests at stake. In any case, I fully agree that Public Schools need to exist for lots of reasons, not the least of which, is the trust you mentioned. Minorities need to continue to make progress not have the rich throw another barrier in their way by quasi segregation techniques. I simply don't trust as much as you do but maybe that's because our frame of references are far different. I just look at the Tea Party nuts running for President and I can't believe what I'm seeing. In any case, I hope your measured optimism is right and my "Call to arms" mentality isn't.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 4, 2012 9:09 am

My optimism comes with my 35 years working elbow to elbow with teachers and administrators who are in education because they want to help children grow and learn. They are in it for the right reasons. I hope the good guys prevail and things are done for the right reasons.

At the same time, I am very wary of those who want to privatize schools so they can profit off of our schoolchildren and drink at the public trough as they exploit the situation and our children.

I foresaw early on almost every issue that has unfolded in the last few years and spent six years of my life researching the laws pertaining to school governance and the research on the best practices of school leadership and governance. I published my book on school governance and leadership, "Whose School Is It? the Democratic Imperative for Our Schools," in 2008.

As to the issue of who "owns" charter schools, that is the major issue of charter school governance now isn't it? I would love to be the lawyer who litigates that issue to the Supreme Court of PA or the U.S. Supreme Court. If we think deeply about that issue and its ramifications to the American schoolchild, the profession of teaching, and public education itself, we the public, should be very concerned.

As to your "call to arms," I am now litigating the issue of a Pennsylvania professional employee's right to write books, advocate for sound practices, and address the SRC about the need to "change the administrative culture" of our school district without being retaliated against by those in power in our district. That includes the right to "due process" for professional employees. It also includes the legal duty and responsibility of the SRC to "prevent" the violation by its administrative officers of basic constitutional rights of employees within our school system.

My Hope is also that Pedro, Wendell, Lorene, Feather and Joe turn out to be the deep thinkers who have the courage to do the right thing for children, their parents, their communities and the profession of education. I believe they are good people. We shall see what develops.

We will also see whether they serve our children and their school communities or whether they will serve the politicians who put them in office or those who want to privatize schools for their own personal profit.

I submit that if we can't come together and do the right things for our children and the public trust of public education, there is little hope for us as a democratic society.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 3, 2012 9:08 pm

I disagree--As of now, Charters act essentially like little fiefdoms without accountability to anybody. The pols who set them up like it that way, of course. That needs to change but it won't because BIG MONEY, EASY MONEY is made from the charters. Until WE demand a fair playing field, the big lie will continue with winks and nods in all directions. Does anybody really think Dwight Evans, Kenny Gamble etc. really think they are helping the kids?? Their goal is money as it is in every business and when you don't have to show your cards, it's a no lose situation for them.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 3, 2012 8:05 pm

Who is paying for this trip?

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 3, 2012 11:42 pm

Gates Foundation, but not the paid time, that's your tax dollars. You'd think they'd "high tech" it, maybe teleconference? It's more likely about building that "good ole boy" network than anything else. Of course the City and State are looking forward to the tax dollars that any disbursement of grant money might bring.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 4, 2012 10:00 am

I completely agree with the above but when I look at the landscape, it ain't good. The corporations are trying their best to turn back the clock on all working people and teacher unions are their biggest target. We better get ready for a blood bath proverbially speaking. The minorities are collateral damage at the least when money is concerned to people who simply don't care. There's an old saying that when you don't care, you have nothing to lose. These privateers and the pols who placed them in the first place fit that bill perfectly. I deal with lots of schools and the only thing different about charters with whom I have contact is that they answer to nobody and just play the kids for money.

Submitted by tom-104 on January 4, 2012 11:42 am

We can have no illusions that this trip to Denver, under the sponsorship of the Gates Foundation, is good for the Philadelphia public schools. This is the next step in a years long strategy to privatize our public schools. Arlene Ackerman was the Moses who showed the way for them to their imagined Promised Land of privatization. The current SRC is showing no signs that the privatization program does not continue.

Mayor Nutter was just reelected (with the enthusiastic endorsement of the leadership of the PFT). Immediately after being sworn in to his second term, he reveals his true agenda for Philadelphia's public schools which he did not reveal during the election. Is this democracy?

Last summer’s dispute between Mayor Nutter and Arlene Ackerman was not about the education of the students at Martin Luther King High School. Mayor Nutter's enthusiastic support for Dwight Evans after this debacle shows this. (See”Nutter defends Evans' 'passionate advocacy' at King” at The dispute was over lucrative contracts to the friends and cronies of the parties involved in the take over of Martin Luther King High School. For a brief moment we saw the corruption and nepotism that will be involved in the privatization of the public schools. That Mayor Nutter thinks it is OK for a state legislator who sponsored charter school legislation to then turn around and run a charter school says it all. Evans sponsored legislation which he hopes to profit from.

Governor Corbett showed the true agenda for the public schools in this year’s state budget. He cut almost one billion dollars for education while at the same time increasing the budget for prisons by almost one billion dollars. This includes the building of three new prisons some of which will be privately owned. This is a return to slave labor.

Whatever the educational goals of the SRC and Mayor Nutter, they are helping the privatizers establish a two-tier educational system where a select group of students will be placed in charter schools with the funding needed to provide an education. The rest of the students will be in underfunded public schools (which has been the case for decades) where they will be prepared for a future of poverty, menial labor, or prison. The closing of low performing public schools, rather than fixing them, while opening more charter schools, is a classic case of union busting. The 1%, which both parties work for, do not want to have school employees making a middle class wage since these employees will be teaching the children left behind.

Please read the linked PDF “The Gates’ Foundation and the Future of U.S. Public Education: A Call for Scholars to Counter Misinformation Campaigns” at

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 4, 2012 5:08 pm

And they act like we're the crazy ones for wanting a school board that believes in public education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 4, 2012 4:51 pm

YOU, my friend--get it and that article does too. We should all be afraid and stand up and fight before it's too late. I have said the same thing over and over on this site but never as eloquently as you. You hit the nail on the head--BINGO !!

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