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PSP's Gleason cited as a 'reformer to watch'

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 27, 2013 02:59 PM

Mark Gleason, the executive director of the Philadelphia School Partnership, has been named one of four "education reformers to watch" nationwide by the Walton Family Foundation.

Walton, which has given some $1 billion to its education causes, is one of the country's leading backers of parental choice in education, including vouchers and the expansion of charter schools. It believes that choice is the best path to equal opportunity for low-income students.

Besides Gleason, the others named were from Indiana, Washington state, and North Carolina.

Walton said that Gleason was being cited for PSP's goals to "create 50,000 more seats in high-quality schools" over the next five years, while also working to "support the transformation of Philadelphia’s lowest-performing schools of any type – district, charter or private."

PSP staffs the Great Schools Compact, the city's initiative to create more high-performing schools. So far, it has raised $53 million toward its goal of $100 million and given out more than $13 million in grants, almost all, so far, to charters and private schools.

The award comes with $10,000 that will be put back into PSP.


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Comments (27)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 4:46 pm
What a joke? Walton - owners of Walmart - who refuse to allow unions - The headline is right "he should be watched but not for the right reasons!
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 27, 2013 4:12 pm
Gleason does have to be "watched" - his moves to date are not trustworthy, transparent nor about ALL students. Walton Fd. giving an award to Gleason is not more authentic - or noteworthy - than the U.S. dropping another bomb with a drone and being "sorry" if there is so called "collateral damage." The victims are left to pick up the pieces - literally and figuratively.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 4:42 pm
Are you really equating someone with drone warfare? I was under the impression conservatives were in favor of charter schools.
Submitted by Philly Resident (not verified) on March 27, 2013 4:16 pm
Bombing? Drones? Unfair and destructive analogy. Congratulations, Mr. Gleason. Glad to see your work recognized on the national stage.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 27, 2013 6:48 pm
Mr. Gleason and his "Partnership" are destructive and have no concern for the damage they leave behind. So, yes, the analogy may be "shocking" (as it should be) but we also need to be shocked at the destruction caused by Mr. Gleason, the Walton Foundation, the Broad Foundation, ETC.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 27, 2013 9:50 pm
Yes, Gleason is dangerous and needs to be watched--no doubt about that. He's a business person whose goal is simply to make as much money as possible. Where were he and the other "saviors" until there was money to be made on the kids. Now, they're stampeding one another to get to the money while claiming their lofty goals for the kids. Elmer Gantry comes to Philly.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 4:04 pm
Let's see, the unions collect 100's of million dollars and gives it to lobbyist and Democrat leaders. That's OK, someone with money gives THEIR DOLLARS to a cause they feel is beneficial and we have unions crying foul. Stop the one sided complaining and try do a better job of teaching our future leaders. Unions make up 11% of the workforce and are progressively deteriorating, the other 89% knows why. This is not trolling but a fact!
Submitted by Still In the Mix (not verified) on March 28, 2013 11:00 am
That's because those spending millions on charters lack any real educational teaching experience. They are investing in themselves, not the children. Look at Vahan down in Chester. The only thing being benefited is their wallets. Of course unions will financially support whomever is going to represent them. The charters, in the majority of studies, are no producing the results they had promised us despite have the the advantage to cherrypick their students. Your generalizations are troll-worthy. How can schools that hire "teachers" fired from public schools be better than the public schools? They are interested in warm bodies in the room, that's the bottom line. They fudge their scores on the PSSA like everybody else.
Submitted by Lawrence A. Feinberg (not verified) on March 27, 2013 5:04 pm
The Walton's have contributed half a billion dollars in just the past four years towards dismantling democratically governed public education and devaluing teaching as a profession. Twenty years of vouchers and charters and the jury is still out. What if they had funded early education instead? Here's the details on the money:
Submitted by TS (not verified) on March 27, 2013 6:02 pm
Mr. Feinberg, I'm a big fan of the site that you provided a link to. Also, I appreciate your willingness to speak out about what you see happening on the education front. Thank you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 10:27 pm
What if the unions had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on things besides political advocacy? I actually think it's totally appropriate for the NEA and AFT to do this, but then you can't expect people who disagree with policies favored by the union to not spend money to get their own message out. For better or worse, money = speech in this country and both sides need to spend money to get their message heard.
Submitted by JUDITH ROBINSON (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:59 pm
Where have these do gooders been as the "disadvantage" have been mis- educated for decades?! Oh well ,workers for Wal-mart... Check out Rep.James Roebuck's ,Charter and Cyber Charter School Reform Update... HB 934 of the 2013-14 Session...
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 27, 2013 11:30 pm
Whatever, Walton Foundation. The Walton Foundation would have more credibility if the Waltons and Wal-Mart would pay workers a living wage and not try to crush every attempt of employees to unionize. The Walton Foundation has self-interested motives when it comes to school reform. Read about them in this great article, "The bait and switch of school 'reform'" by David Sirota, here: EGS
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on March 27, 2013 11:22 pm
jim roebuck is bought and paid for by the pft. his charter bill is robbing poor children to maintain jobs for teachers based on length of service not ability. don't buy into the narrative that this is about education. these are the people who have done the educating around here for the last 30 years. they have failed and are being replaced. their only alternative is to cry boogie man. this is not about mark gleason or walmart or any of the corporate takeover mumbo jumbo. it's about better educational options for children n school today, not another long term plan that leads to nowhere. parents need to ask themselves, haven't you had enough for their blame game? don't the children deserve better? ms. robinson, don't be bamboozled. the best interests of kids and the best interests of the union are not the same. why does it take the threat of new schools to get their attention. you know better.
Submitted by Citizen (not verified) on March 28, 2013 8:22 am
"this is not about mark gleason or walmart or any of the corporate takeover mumbo jumbo." Oh, but it IS about them. Due to the calculated business decisions made by these people/organizations, traditional public schools are being bled dry, and left to fight for scraps. The school closing meetings come to mind, where some school communities fought to keep their own schools open, only to find out that winning the battle would result in the unintended consequence of another school being closed. Go to the suburbs and you will find schools with Reading Specialists, full-time nurses, mental health professionals, etc. They have plenty of safety nets for at-risk children. What do we have? None of the above. Reading levels in one classroom can span 3-4 years and there are NO Reading Specialists coming to the aid of the classroom teacher. S/he does the best with what s/he's given. Add 5-10 more children to that classroom (which is what will happen if the District gets its way) and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to predict the outcome. Every charter school that opens robs the traditional public schools of already meager resources, so you can say and believe what you want to- "this is not about mark gleason or walmart or any of the corporate takeover mumbo jumbo," but I know otherwise. Finally, the rest of the nation is catching on.
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on March 28, 2013 9:11 am
the school closings were not due to mark gleason. they're schools that people in those communities have abandoned. mostly because they stink and have stunk for years. there were a few exceptions, but that was just a few. the rest were awful. the district has to cut costs because your model is way too expensive. when you need 1.5 people for every teacher, that's a financial model the begs to be gutted. your union reps should have seen this coming. even the other unions can't support your u reasonable situation. comparing philly to lower merion is a waste of time. they don't face the same demons that philly does. if you find the lower merion set up irresistible, you might want to apply for work out there. which leads me to my final point. this won't be resolved until a new attitude is created in the district. that won't happen until there's a purge of the abundance of malcontents. all the gripping, whining, overpaid, under working teachers and, more importantly, principals and administrators must go and I mean immediately. the situation at the district can't get any worse. you don't have any leverage. stop looking fo someone to blame. you're a victim of your own crime.
Submitted by Citizen (not verified) on March 28, 2013 9:18 am
Thank you for your insightful response, Mr. Gleason.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 28, 2013 10:41 am
Hi reformer, I admire your fortitude in putting forth your point of view despite some very unfair attacks. I agree with you that a change is needed; however I see problems down the line with converting to more charters. Charters, once the SDP gets "right sized", theoretically free the taxpayer from capital expenditures (that is if they are honest charters). This is why the BCG report uses them as cost savings, achievement factors aside. Management guarantees are a problem likely not considered. What is sad is that "doing what is right" seems never to be enough motivation; there must always be some element of self gain, such as wages/profit. That is that - it is reality. Certainly it is better than being Europe right now, especially Greece or Cypress. I am disappointed that this article is taking up precious space. I do not shop at Walmart, nor do I care what the Walton family considers worth "watching". There is very little about what is happening in Camden. They are a much smaller district than Philadelphia. Money people should know that they receive (yes receive) $24,000 (quoted on WHYY talk w/Marty M-C yesterday) per child(Lower Merion gets about $18,000). So proof positive that more money given at the school level does not help achievement when tackling poverty. And what is the charter funding formula in NJ? The situation in Camden for the traditional as well as the charter? This would have made a much more interesting article.
Submitted by Still In the Mix (not verified) on March 28, 2013 12:53 pm
Underwork? How you would you know this unless you work there? Most teachers are not only doing their jobs, but those of administrators. They are routinely being told to give up their lunch periods to hold detention because the majority of Philly principals don't allow children to be kept after school each day because of parental whining. Overpaid? How did you figure that out clown? Philly teachers are at the bottom of the state pay scale. Teachers have had no say in the way school funding is spent or the bloated hierarchy either. Pray tell what crime they are guilty of in this district? As a Walton family patsy you cast aspirtions towards teachers, but fail to tell us how you have come by this info.If you knew anything about teaching you would know that most school district do not even look at teachers applications if the teacher has been at it for over five years. Only those in teaching fields where there are high vacancies will even be considered. Most school districts want cheaper over experienced. That's why your charters hire public school teachers who have been fired, but won't talk to those who are still employed, but looking.
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on March 28, 2013 12:47 pm
I realize that I painted you all with a broad brush. if you don't fit that description, i apologize. but you have to admit tat there's more than a few of your colleagues who do fit that description. and here's a brief lesson in economics from your old pal, bozo: when everyone doing a job is paid the same, some folks are overpaid. get it, or do i have to squirt you in the face from the flower on my lapel?
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 28, 2013 11:58 am
It's back. Ignore and move on.
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on March 28, 2013 12:23 pm
sell out!
Submitted by Mark (not verified) on March 28, 2013 12:36 am
What is going on with the PFT contract, anyway? There was a ton of buzz for a couple weeks and now - nothing. The PFT meeting at Girls' High was emotional, but uninformative. What's happening? Are PFT members really going to have such draconian cuts, or will they strike?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 28, 2013 9:31 am
What did Mark Gleason do before he got into for-profit learning? What's his business background?
Submitted by tom-104 on March 28, 2013 9:52 am
Here are the bios of Mark Gleason and the the "Philadelphia School Partnership team": Here is the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia School Partnership:
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 28, 2013 11:57 am
We know what Mark Gleason is about and whose interests he represents. It is perfect that the Walton family gave him a prize; he is their lapdog, after all. It is time to stop him and the people who give him his marching orders. Stay tuned. Lisa Haver
Submitted by Amyfgt (not verified) on May 14, 2014 6:43 am
I am a regular visitor of this site. I have heard about Mark Gleason and the great contributions he has done for the Philadelphia School Improvement activities. I am happy that people like him are coming up with innovative ideas. Thanks for the post.

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