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Exit interview: SRC's Dworetzky on hopes, frustrations, and the future of Philly schools

By the Notebook on Jan 22, 2014 12:50 PM

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

In many ways, Joseph Dworetzky was the voice of the people during his four-year tenure as a School Reform Commission member — often casting the lone "no" vote on SRC decisions that were unpopular with the education advocates who regularly testify at the group's action meetings.

Dworetzky, a lawyer who spent time as city solicitor in Ed Rendell's mayoral administration, held views that often clashed with those of his SRC colleagues.

He voted no on the so-called "doomsday budget" passed in May.

He voted no on the District's acceptance of private money to develop more "high-performing" District schools, saying that the decision would drain more resources from the rest of the District in the long term. 

Dworetzky also often challenged the District's logic in its proposals to close schools.

Last week, as Dworetzky's SRC term was set to expire soon, Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett nominated two new SRC appointees – replacing Dworetzky with homelessness-support advocate Farah Jimenez, a Republican.

(Corbett also tapped Democratic City Councilman Bill Green to replace Pedro Ramos as SRC chair.)

I caught up with Dworetzky on Friday afternoon to conduct an exit interview with him shortly after the governor's announcement. Dworetzky came to the the interview with his suitcase in hand and left immediately afterward to catch a flight home to San Francisco, which has been his primary home for the last two years.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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Comments (12)

Submitted by Penny Pingleton (not verified) on January 22, 2014 7:27 pm
See ya Joe. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out. I don't buy the maverick label. Your term was a failure.
Submitted by Kelly Jenkins (not verified) on January 22, 2014 8:31 pm
Gonna miss this guy.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2014 9:32 pm
Commissioner Dworetsky, Thank you for your thoughtfulness, candor, and for saying what was right no matter how unpopular.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2014 9:33 pm
Commissioner Dworetsky, Thank you for your thoughtfulness, candor, and for saying what was right no matter how unpopular.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 22, 2014 10:25 pm
He may have spoken the speak but overall, he didn't walk the walk...of the people. Mostly, he went along with Pedro et al, playing a version of good cop, bad cop with little Faye and the rest. Git !!!!!!!!!!!
Submitted by Lisa Haver on January 22, 2014 10:51 pm
Voice of the people?
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2014 10:25 pm
Apparently, in comparison to the other people who have been and are on the SRC, Dworetzky represents "the people." Sad. Yes, sad.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 23, 2014 10:54 am
Dworetzky has a special place for being the one that thought of checking to see if contractors submitting bids to the district owe city taxes. Really says everything that it occurred to him to do so and NOT CRO Knudsen.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on January 23, 2014 5:38 pm
The true voices of the people are those fighting to save public education in this city, including Helen Gym, Ron Whitehorn, Hiram Rivera, Eileen Duffey and the many parents, teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians and students who have testified and marched to stop schools from closing or being handed over to private organizations. Has any member of the SRC reached out to any of those community leaders? When we ask the SRC a question at the meetings, and the Chair tells us "we are not going to answer you", do any of the other members speak up? Does any member of the SRC go out to the schools to see for themselves what is going on and how the students are being cheated? Has any member of the SRC admitted that attending the Great Schools Compact Committee meetings, held behind closed doors, is a breach of trust with the people they are supposed to represent? Has any one of them decried the growing influence of the William Penn Foundation, PSP, BCG, Gates? Did any one of the members of the SRC vote against suspending the collective bargaining rights of PFT members last summer? It is wrong to characterize any one of them as a voice of the people. As Ron says in his piece, "it is time to get rid of this dysfunctional form of government".
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on January 24, 2014 3:06 am
Excellent synopsis of why the SRC members only represent those who put them in power. The fact they will not answer questions is appalling enough. Silence speaks louder than words!
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 24, 2014 1:44 pm
Hear, Hear !!
Submitted by Danny's Voice (not verified) on January 24, 2014 7:14 am
Yes, Joe flew in from San Fran, put on the Joe show, and flew back home to California. He talked a good game, but always rubber stamped what was laid before him anyway. Even when he voted no, it was all a show. He stood for nothing. He certainly did not stand up for the schoolchildren, who to this day, go to school without the basic necessities of an adequate education. Everyone on the SRC is responsible for that. What you say is not what matters -- it is what you do. Joe did nothing for our schoolchildren except make their plight worse, and went along with the starvation of our real public schools. He asked questions, but never stood up for anything. What a fluff piece coming from Kevin McCorry and, of course, WHYY. We need incisive reporting guys -- not BS.

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