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A closer look at the alternative plan to reform Philly schools

By the Notebook on Dec 19, 2012 05:30 PM
Photo: Harvey Finkle

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers secretary Freda Sydnor-Joell addresses the crowd outside the School District building on Dec. 13, the day that the school-closings plan was announced.

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

The report released Tuesday by the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) is ambitious, to say the least: It represents an attempt to push back vigorously against almost all of the current trends in city and state education policy.

The immediate villain, as PCAPS sees it, is the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), whose privately funded collection of reform recommendations was unveiled with great fanfare by District officials in the spring.

Although the District has since distanced itself from some of BCG’s more controversial proposals, the PCAPS report asks officials to effectively deep-six the entire BCG framework, which it calls “deeply flawed.”

But more broadly, the PCAPS report, funded by private donations and coalition members (which include the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the Philadelphia Student Union, the Philadelphia Home and School Council, and other labor and community organizing groups), calls on local leaders to push back hard against the education agenda of Gov. Corbett and his allies, who strongly support current funding levels and BCG-endorsed reforms like charter expansion.

Among the funding and policy trends that PCAPS wants to see reversed:

  • The District faces a five-year deficit of over a billion dollars; PCAPS calls for significant increases in per-pupil funding, putting the city on par with its surrounding suburban counties.
  • The District has been laying off teachers and support staff and reducing access to programs; PCAPS calls for major expansions of staff, programs, and support services.
  • The District has relied on standardized tests and its School Performance Index to assess students and schools; PCAPS wants the District to create entirely new and much more complex accountability and evaluation systems.
  • The District plans to close its own schools and expand charters; PCAPS calls for a halt to school closures and charter expansion.
  • The District is effectively controlled by the state, which appoints the majority of School Reform Commission (SRC) members; PCAPS proposes returning the District to local control.

Yesterday, District officials were quick to challenge the coalition's focus on BCG, even as they praised the new report as a thoughtful effort that is based on significant feedback from parents and community members.

“We appreciate all ideas that may help Philadelphia students,” said District spokesperson Fernando Gallard. “What is unfortunate is that [the PCAPS plan] appears to be responding to a BCG plan that does not exist. There is no such thing as the BCG plan.”

Gallard called BCG’s ideas “recommendations” and stressed that Superintendent William Hite has not embraced them all; outsourced student busing and “achievement networks” are BCG ideas that have been rejected, Gallard said. Hite and the SRC agree with PCAPS that more funding is necessary, Gallard said, adding that Hite plans to meet with PCAPS members soon and will consider their ideas as he prepares his own long-term agenda, which he plans to share in early January.

However, Gallard rejected outright the request for a moratorium on school closures. “We must move forward,” he said. “We are out of options.”

PCAPS members, for their part, said yesterday that they’re not sure yet what kind of support their ideas will have in City Hall or the SRC, but that they plan to start meeting with city leaders to press their agenda.

Highlights of the PCAPS report:

The report's core criticism: The coalition believes that the District’s current financial straits are the result of deliberate policy choices by Corbett and his allies, whose intention is to weaken traditional school districts and expand the role of charter schools.

“Were it not for the deliberate underinvestment and disinvestment in Philadelphia schools by the state, and the misguided investment in an oversized and exceptionally costly charter school sector by the SRC, the district could easily be enjoying a multibillion-dollar surplus instead of a deficit,” the report says. “Indeed, the supposed fiscal ‘crisis’ is largely a fallacy.”

Current funding landscape: PCAPS notes that Philadelphia lags far behind its neighbors in terms of per-pupil funding and accuses Corbett of reversing funding gains made under former Gov. Ed Rendell, cutting the District’s budget by $200 million and forcing staff and program cuts. The report contends that an “equitable” funding system in which Philadelphia matched its surrounding counties would bring the District $2.3 billion in additional funds over the next five years. “The average Philadelphia classroom received $50,000 less in annual funding than its counterparts in nearby Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery Counties … one of the least equitable school funding systems in the country,” the report says.

For its part, the Corbett administration blames the end of the federal stimulus program for the drop in the city’s per-pupil funding, not disinvestment on the part of Harrisburg.

Proposal to restore funding: PCAPS calls for a return to the funding formula created under Gov. Ed Rendell and unveiled in 2008. That formula was based on a “costing-out” study calculating the amount needed to adequately educate students in each district based on local circumstances, including level of poverty and taxing capacity. It concluded that Philadelphia was shortchanged to the tune of $1 billion a year.

The report recommends that the state capture new revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes, re-negotiating bad credit swaps, taxing natural gas production, and moving funds from prison expansion or other “low priority” programs to schools. PCAPS also calls on the city to step up collection of unpaid taxes and solicit tens of millions of annual donations from large, tax-exempt nonprofits.

Proposal to halt closures: PCAPS calls for a moratorium on school closures until the District fully assesses their community impact. Among other things, PCAPS says that the District has not adequately considered the possibility that closures will be “extremely harmful and destabilizing to local communities” and that the anticipated savings, about $28 million, “doesn’t even provide much of a fiscal benefit.”

Proposal to halt charter expansion: PCAPS cites charters’ uneven academic results as the principal reason to reverse a policy of effectively replacing public schools with charter schools. “While we do not oppose high-quality charter schools … we strongly reject the notion that dramatically expanding the number of charter schools, and turning traditional public schools into charter schools, will meet the needs of our communities in the long term.”

Proposal to improve educational outcomes: The PCAPS report contends that BCG’s plans are overly focused on cutting operating and labor costs and offer little or nothing in terms of proven strategies that improve classroom outcomes; one member called it “a business plan, not an educational plan.” The PCAPS report says that “the BCG plan hinges largely on the district having greater freedom to fire teachers and principals and hire less expensive and less experienced replacements.”

The PCAPS alternative is to dramatically increase classroom investments of almost every kind, using its proposed “Student Bill of Rights” as a guide. “The very first thing that must be done … is to address the profound resources gaps that plague our students and our schools,” the PCAPS reports says. It calls for increased numbers of teachers, counselors and other support staff; increased numbers of academic supports and “wraparound” services for needy students; an updated and diversified curriculum; more autonomy for school administrators; better professional development for teachers; and targeted efforts to get experienced teachers in the most challenged schools

Proposal to improve accountability and evaluation: This calls for the District to develop new assessment and accountability systems that go beyond test scores and the School Performance Index and instead use multiple measures of student success.

Proposal to improve safety: The PCAPS report calls for a reduction in “get tough” safety measures like suspensions and arrests, recommending the increased use of the “restorative justice” approach, along with broader improvements like smaller class sizes, a more engaging curriculum, more welcoming  and better-maintained facilities, and increased programmatic supports.

Proposal to replace the School Reform Commission: Without going into details, the PCAPS report ends by calling for an end to state control of the District. “It has been more than a decade since the people of Philadelphia have had a local school board,” the report says. “We want it back. As recent events have shown … we need it back.”

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Comments (18)

Submitted by INPV (not verified) on December 19, 2012 4:39 pm
PCAPS may be the Superman those of us with children in Charter Schools May have been waiting for. This article is old, but shows why PCAPS is necessary. http://www.citypaper.net/cover_story/2012-07-05-money-talks.html?c=r
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on December 19, 2012 6:36 pm
Bravo !! The Empire Strikes Back !! Kudos to everyone involved. This is Might against Right 101. Corbett et al have NO INTEREST in our children but total interest in our money for those same kids. People like Gleason and Nowak are business sharks and everybody who knows them, knows that. Where were they when no money could be made on the kids?
Submitted by retired Phila teacher still caring about public education (not verified) on December 19, 2012 8:11 pm
I'll be there tomorrow (Thurs) for the PCAPS vigil at City Hall (4 pm) and march to 440. This is important.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 19, 2012 9:53 pm
I'm disappointed. I had hoped this report might offer some real new material for this incredibly important debate, but it reads from an old and very tired script. "Blast the evil charters and give us a bunch more state money" are two key recommendations built on some pretty faulty, not to mention politically naive, analysis. First of all, the report condemns the inequitable funding for Philadelphia schools compared to the suburbs. Fair enough, but it fails to focus on the fact that Philadelphia receives a far greater percentage of its per-student funding from the state than surrounding districts. They have more local education dollars because they have much higher local property taxes too. Now, of course, the suburbs are richer than the city. And I believe that in our society, the haves should absolutely be helping the have-nots; Philadelphia should get more money per pupil than the suburbs, because the students here are higher need. But there are limits. It's particularly unreasonable to push simultaneously for more state funding and less state control. Moreover, the fact that the same parties pushing for more state funding are unwilling to push for more local funding undermines their argument; why should others pay more for our system if we won't? I, for one, will happily pay more property taxes if it goes to our schools. Anyway, point is, funding from Harrisburg SHOULD be restored, but I want to see a real strategy for making that happen, not the temper tantrum that is this report. A real strategy absolutely doesn't include telling Harrisburg to give us more money and bug off about how we spend it, and it doesn't include telling Harrisburg to give us more money when we won't spend any more of our own. A real strategy first makes the case to the rest of the state that its in their interest to have a highly functioning public school system in the state's premier city (which it certainly is) and then demonstrates the local resolve to make that happen, starting with stepping up to fund the system better ourselves before asking others to do so too. Second, why are charters so evil? They should certainly be much better regulated, with the power to close or curtail operations handed squarely to the SRC, but on the whole they seem to deliver education parents and kids want, and to do so at roughly the same per-pupil rates the district currently spends. One of the reasons the charters "cost" the district so much is that it's so difficult for the district to adjust costs when parents decide to send their kid to charters, so that when a kid goes off to a charter, the district pays the charter AND lots of the costs they were bearing when the student was at a district school. The recommendations in this report wouldn't do anything to fix that. If anything, they would make it worse. There are some real problems and inequities in the charter funding formula - particularly the fact that the district must pay a per pupil cost for students moving into charters even when that student has come from a private or parochial school, which puts a real burden on the District. But I'd rather see a plan that tries to understand why charters are popular and to build on those strengths while proposing real fixes for the many problems with them than one that simply proposes shutting them down. This smacks of self interest on the part of those behind the report. Long story short, this report doesn't add anything meaningful to the discussion. It's an opportunity missed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Is this you again, Scotty 2 shoes Gordon ?? It ain't working !!
Submitted by Brian Ehmann (not verified) on December 19, 2012 9:00 pm
First, it is encouraging to see the parents of our students stand up and say enough is enough. Second, the district should be run by a local board that is elected by the people of Philadelphia and not appointed by Mayor Nutter or Governor Corbett. The board should be beholden to the city's citizens. Third, the district's financial problems have not have happened by chance, and those problems are now being worsened deliberately by policies designed to starve public institutions, particularly public schools, of funding.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on December 19, 2012 10:56 pm
Yes Brian--It was and is all by design by ALEC and other groups who realized that money could be made on the backs of the inner cities where despair and poverty run side by side--The Slumlord Mentality comes to education in Urban America.
Submitted by tom-104 on December 19, 2012 11:55 pm
From this article: “We appreciate all ideas that may help Philadelphia students,” said District spokesperson Fernando Gallard. “What is unfortunate is that [the PCAPS plan] appears to be responding to a BCG plan that does not exist. There is no such thing as the BCG plan.” Another scam being perpetrated on the city. So what is the SRC getting for the $2.7 million (enough to keep one of the schools being closed open) they paid the Boston Consulting Group? Next they will tell us the Great Schools Compact is just checking light bulbs. This is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the role that the Boston Consulting Group played in this plan. Suddenly it doesn't exist and the SRC came up with all these closures on their own? Do they really think lying and trying to fool the people will work? The very fact that they have to try to deceive shows how undemocratic this process is and that they are up to no good. If what they are doing is good for the city they wouldn't have to lie! This Notebook article from JULY 9TH says otherwise about the role of the BCG in this plan: "Behind the scenes, Boston Consulting Group has been a driving force on labor talks, school closings, and charters" http://thenotebook.org/blog/124995/behind-scenes-boston-consulting-group...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 20, 2012 7:04 am
The BCG report pointed out that $2.7mm is less than a 10th of the premium the city is paying the SEIU over what it could pay private contractors. And that is OK why? Because it is tax money that is wasted instead of private money? Because we like doing things dumb and inefficient in Philly? The BCG report took not $1 away from teachers or schools or students. Why not focus on this $40mm of featherbedding, 20% sick out rates, $7mm a year in workmens comp, and scam work rules that suck real money out of the school system. No one cares. Not city council who extracts their protection money from the SEIU. Not the PFT who priortizes solidarity ideology ahead of money for their own schools even. No one in the rest of the state wants to pay for Philly's political corruption, or for 2 bus drivers costing $79k a year to run a single days route. And that is the real reason there is so much hatred for this BCG report.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 20, 2012 3:02 am
can we add a moratorium on district employees enrolling their children in charter schools? the irony here is just too special. has anyone ever done an accurate count of those numbers? 950 teachers with kids in charters would equal 10% of their workforce, a substantial amount. add those whose children attend parochial, private, and suburban public schools, and you'll discover tha the vast majority of district teachers don't send their kids to district schools. why then are they the ones leading this charge? it's not their children being effected. it's like that song "when i say hey, you say ho." when they say kids, they mean jobs. they want to force our city to spend more money it doesn't have in order for them to maintain employment at schools that don't work.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 20, 2012 5:27 am
There are far more district employees who live in the burbs - they won't even let their children in Philadelphia schools.
Submitted by tom-104 on December 20, 2012 7:37 am
First you say there must be a study, then you make wide claims about Philadelphia teachers with no information for your claim. That's called prejudice. No one is saying the Philadelphia schools are ideal. Teachers especially know the conditions we are dealing with. Decades of underfunding and serious social problems such as high unemployment in urban areas have led to the crisis in Philadelphia schools. Are you saying teachers should take higher paying jobs in the suburbs? This would only deepen the crisis. Your blame the teacher mentality won't fly anymore. Some teachers, just like their students, are risking their lives everyday under the conditions that exist in some schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 20, 2012 6:24 am
Surely if the Philly unions had their way, we would have "multi-billion dollar surpluses". LOL. When has that ever happened? A hopeful desire to live in an alternative fantasy universe is not a "plan" and describing it as such here is something of a fraud. Likewise, complaining that the state won't contribute more money is hardly "ambitious". Actually, it is quite the opposite- a lame excuse to do nothing while complaining. Voters aren't so stupid. Or at least voters outside of Philly who the report demands to pay for a more expensive status quo aren't that stupid. And since they are the ones who are supposed to pick up the check here, that matters a lot.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 20, 2012 7:35 am
Wow, where do I begin? The reason for the financial issues in the PSD is the fact that previous superintendents and the SRC unwisely spent funds as well as used swap with banks which did not pan out. The state, in the past, did adequately fund the PSD but pure stupidity at the top and a bloated bureauocracy stymied any effort to wisely spend the funds to the benefit of the students. We as taxpayers have every right to demand the state adequately fund the schools. That is not an "alternative fantasy" as you put it. We also have every right to demand accountability from an SRC that has played a major role in bankrupting the district. The state is ill-equipped to run a school district. Has nothing to do with unions or anything else. Failures at the top are the main reasons the PSD is where it is today. And because of that, everyone has to suffer. By the way, city residents pay taxes that support projects in the suburbs, in case you didn't know. Get the facts and learn what actually happened and stop blaming unions for everything that goes wrong. Remember the PFT has no power to strike...the main weapon of any union so how "powerful" can they be? Now go back to watching Fox News and you'll be all better...
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on December 20, 2012 11:08 am
How does this plan address the "bloated bureaucracy" and (I agree) "pure stupidity at the top"? In many ways the BCG plan offered real change, but no surprise, was rejected. PSD gets far more in Federal Title I money than their peers in the suburbs; Mr. Nowak's expenditure of the W.Penn foundation's money was pretty insignificant in comparison. Sorry, I can't agree that the answer is more money, until the money that is there already is used wisely (studies notwithstanding, our own direct observations outweigh all these.) I would've liked to see more of an argument against the break up of the foundation of "public good" that happens with the implementation of SBA. This does also affect the "bottom line". Check out the League of Women Voters' argument for a template budget model rather than "weighted school funding" which is the charter/SBA model (Charlotte-Mecklenburg District).
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 23, 2012 8:05 am
What is the alternative plan? No Alternative Plan was shared. Or did I miss something. It is not surprising that the schools closing would be located where thet are. There are some questions that I haven't been able to get answered. Does anyone happen toknow the condition of the proposed schools being closed? IT WOULD BE OF USE TO KNOW the following: 1. How many of those schools have air conditioning or classroom windows that doesn't open? 2. How many of the schools have functioning heaters in the Winter, no repairs? 3. How many have working drinking fountains throughtout the school? 4. How many have been checked for exposed asbestos, lead? 5. How many have a playground with equipment, or a running track? 6. How many have safety cameras? 7. How many have a library? 8. " " " computers for children to use at least 1 hr per day? 9. How many have toilets with working toilets? 10. How many have a legitimate, active Home & School Assoc.? 11. How many provide text books newer than the 1950's material? 12. How many allow their children to take text books home to study? 13. How many have online text books? 14. " " have a website presence for children/parents to check for homework? 15. " " Have a website to communicate with the teachers? Lets not be distracted with the fight for old buildings. Let's not be distracted by the "Them" and "Us" arguments. Charter Schools are Public Schools. Lets stay focused on the education, the access to new, updated, usuable INFORMATION for our children. Regardless of the condition of the school, School attendance is MANDATORY. I don't care about the buildings. I am more concerned about schools that are teaching taching outdated skills. The factories are gone. I'm concerned about the attitudes of those who select the learning materials. I am concerned that schools are not using laptops or E-readers as textbooks and school supplies. They cost less that the current textbooks ($79-$99). They teach computer navigational skills. They don't need pencil sharpeners nor paper. They insure timely submital of homework. I am concerned about the attitute towards the use of computers (not the internet) for students. I'm concerned about the unwritten school policies as it relates to our children. I am concerned that schools are not monitored by cameras, to deter violence, record inappropriate behaviors of the teachers as well as the student, at the school site.
Submitted by Katie (not verified) on January 16, 2013 11:34 am
Philly Communities United is working on a "People's Plan"- PCAPs has a plan, which I wholly support, but I think their work should and will be largely echoed in the community response to these closings and in developing alternative plans. In any event, I hope Mr. Anonymous who has a lot of time for criticism will at least give me some feed back on my proposal- which is still in the developing stages: All are welcome to the meeting to put together the community-based plan: Jan. 18th @ 6pm, PCU Mtg at USP (to complete the outline for the plan)... 43rd St. between Woodland and Chester Aves, Rosenberg Building, Room 102... For more information contact Saboor 267.253.5444 Support for public education has a venerable tradition in economics. Adam Smith (1904 [1776], V.1.182) advocated for public assistance of basic education, and Alfred Marshall (1920, I.IV.28) wrote that “to refuse [public education] is both wrong and bad business from a national point of view.” Jean-Baptiste Say (1855 [1803], II.VII.15) stated explicitly “Education is capital which ought to yield interest.” Investments in education pay off with interest. This literature, typified by Colclough (1982), is large, well-known, and backed by Nobel prize-winning research (Schultz 1989). In a fiscal crisis, we should focus on funding “rain-making” opportunities, which pay off amply in return. Education is one such “rain-maker.” We have no shortage of arguments that schooling children produces an educated workforce and thereby increases national productivity and income. Obviously it is true that educating children eventually produces more educated adults, and many economists have suggested that this type of investment raises incomes in poor cities, like Philadelphia, more than in others. Raising school enrollment, like economic development in general, takes a long time. This is partly because, as a mountain of empirical evidence now shows, economic conditions and slowly- changing parental education levels determine children’s school enrollment to a greater degree than education policy interventions. For this reason, we should take the long-view in our education policies and not pin them on short-term budget crises. Needs for our children 1. A public school within walking distance. a. Public school location is a scalar issue. School proximity to students matters. Students with shorter walk and bike times to or from school are more likely to walk and bike. b. Students that walk and bike to school will get physical activity along the way, contributing to better bodily health. c. Parents escorting their children to and from school are more likely to interact with one another and community members on the way, forming vital support networks which engage the school and benefit the neighborhood. d. As parents and students walk through neighborhoods, they provide “eyes on the street” and make a neighborhood safer- which in turn, makes these neighborhoods more desirable places to live. e. Walking and biking to school reduces air pollution, a considerable consideration for inner cities where increase air pollution has been linked to poor health outcomes and punitive federal regulation. Recommendation: We need a public school within a mile of every child in the city. This will enable walking to school, a healthy activity. It will also allow parents to walk with their kids to drop them off, meet other parents, and form relationships and support structures around school activities. For this reason, we are recommending that not one public school be closed. 2. High quality physical environment of the public school. Our schools will need funding to be renovated so that they have aesthetically appealing greenspace which can be used by the community when school is not in session. This is expected to improve the physical activity and mental stimulation of both students and neighbors, thereby improving property values. a. The Federal government has acknowledged that “Over the next few decades, thousands of schools will be built or renovated (read: NOT CLOSED). Decisions about the construction and renovation of these schools will have important implications for their adjoining communities. In making these decisions, communities will be challenged to meet multiple community goals – educational, environmental, economic and fiscal.” Citizens, school administrators, and parents are recognizing that schools do more than house children for the day. They affect home-buying decisions and traffic patterns. They present opportunities to create neighborhood centers for education and civic life. Recommendation: We are recommending that our neighborhood schools receive funding for renovations both outside and inside the school. Lea Elementary has set forth a model program where community members, school staff, and students have collaborated to draw from the rich knowledge of Philadelphian designers in renovating the outdoor play area (http://westphillyschools.org/greening-lea-master-plan-presented/). What is lacking to see this project through in a timely manner is funding. We recommend that communities begin to form networks and plans for and around their schools, and that this enthusiastic energy be supported with much-needed renovation funding from city, state, and federal tax dollars. 3. Supportive programming and supplies for classrooms. a. There is a stark difference in the quality and quantity of programs provided at Penn Alexander Elementary School and those supplied at Lea Elementary School, only a few blocks away. In order to improve enrollment in “under-enrolled” schools, they will have to attract families by providing high quality programming options, such as music classes, language classes, staffed libraries, and nutritious lunchroom food. We are recommending a top-down approach to ensuring that under-enrolled schools receive adequate programming to attract neighborhood families. This calls for fairness in the supply of programming such that every student is provided for equally by the system in terms of programming - as opposed to treating every student equally in terms of budget allowance. This change in mind-set will see more funding and resources allocated to struggling schools- in an effort to boost their enrollment and the outcome of their students and neighborhoods. Top-Down Funding Sources Because good neighborhood schools feed into better neighborhood property values and property taxes thereof, School Reform should be considered an investment in the context of potential gains from property taxes. To that end, the City of Philadelphia has failed to collect delinquent property taxes and move vacant and abandoned properties through Sheriff sale in a timely and transparent manner so that the City can deliver funding from these transactions to its schools. The tax code is intricately linked to school funding. The budget cuts and financial crises we currently face are partly due to a lack of enforcement of codes already on the books. Our schools and our children cannot be made to suffer the consequences for this neglect. School Reform will require financial structuring reform. The following are short and long-term suggestions for raising funds to keep our neighborhood public schools open, and to give them funds to invest in rehabilitation. In times of emergency, emergency policies may be used to enforce these suggestions. 1. Restore state funding that was cut by Gov. Corbett. 2. Stop allocating funding to charter schools while cutting funding from public schools 3. Close all charters that fail to both demonstrate superior performance in educating students, and move that funding to public schools. 4. Reallocate funding from lower-priority projects, such as the expansion of the Pennsylvania prison system. 5. Close the Corporate Tax Loophole. Pennsylvania will spend $2.4 billion next year on business tax breaks, a figure that has tripled in the last 10 years. Because of the so-called Delaware loophole, 70 percent of corporations that do business in Pennsylvania pay no corporate income taxes at all, costing the state an estimated $500 million a year. Halting the phasing out of the capital stock and franchise tax could bring in an estimated $275 million a year. 6. Collect the $515 million owed in delinquent property taxes. 7. Restructure the sheriff sale process such that vacant or delinquent properties are seized and re-sold to bidders in a timely and transparent manner. 8. Raise taxes on items with a negative impact: alcohol, cigarettes, natural gas drilling, etc- and earmark this funding specifically to public schools. 9. Conduct planning surveys to assess the potential property tax gains for every dollar of investment in public school rehabilitation, parsing this study based on which types of school reform were employed. This will help prioritize and guide school investment in a manner that feeds city coffers. Bottom Up Funding Sources In times of crisis, many communities are frustrated with the lack of audience they have with their representatives. We feel powerless in the face of these mega-changes that will impact our children, our neighbors, and our city. It is important to remember throughout this time of transition, that we can be useful for our public schools. The following are suggestions to support our schools in this time of transition, and many of these supports can be continued when we get our schools back on their feet. 1. Volunteer at your local public school. Run a weekly music program. Staff the library. Become a reading tutor. Donate hours to help with a homeroom class. a. To this end, the federal and state background check procedure for schools needs to be streamlined. The process currently costs over $50 and requires three forms. State and federal officials should put their heads together to come up with a simple, free, online system to ensure that parents and community members are screened and can easily jump in and roll up their sleeves. 2. Apply for project-based funding through the community through crowd-sourcing funds. a. There are a variety of online crowd-source sites for this purpose: i. http://www.donorschoose.org/ ii. http://www.adoptaclassroom.org/ 3. Form community task forces focused on the neighborhood school and in coordination with the Parent-Teacher Association. These task forces can organize volunteers for clean-up days, hall painting days, beautification projects, and classroom help. They can also apply for grants for projects and help draw attention and funding toward the school. References US Environmental Protection Agency. Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2003. Available at:http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/school_travel.pdf. Accessed: 12 November, 2005.
Submitted by ion (not verified) on July 22, 2014 10:29 am

I think there might be some truth there. I can believe that the district want to push forward charter schools. It seems like they get a lot more support then the tradition schools. I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels like this. echipamente profesionale

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