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Senate approves Green and Jimenez for School Reform Commission

By Wendy Harris on Feb 4, 2014 05:49 PM

The State Senate approved the nominations of City Councilman Bill Green and People’s Emergency Center executive director Farah Jimenez to the School Reform Commission in a vote of 44-2 this afternoon. Sens. Vincent Hughes and Andrew Dinniman were the dissenting votes.  

Gov. Corbett nominated both Green and Jimenez to the five-member panel last month. Green will fill the chair position left vacant by Pedro Ramos, who resigned in October, citing family issues. Jimenez will fill the seat left vacant by Joseph Dwortezky, whose term expired in January.   

The Philadelphia School Partnership said, in a statement released after the confirmations, “Governor Corbett was thoughtful and deliberate in selecting Bill Green and Farah Jimenez for the School Reform Commission. The new commissioners are dedicated public servants who have shown commitment to results for students and families rather than any one particular ideology, and reflect the governor’s emphasis on ideas and leadership over partisan credentials.” 

Some, however, have expressed their concerns, particularly with Green's selection as chair. After Corbett had announced his nominations, Mayor Nutter issued a statement calling the nomination “quite frankly perplexing given his votes against some education funding measures and his published views on public education.”

In an interview last week with the Notebook, Green said that he and Superintendent William Hite’s goals for the School District of Philadelphia “are completely in sync” and that “whatever has to be done to have 100 percent good schools, if I have the power to do it, I’ll do it.” That includes, Green said, being prepared to use the SRC's special powers to impose a contract on the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, if an agreement fails to be reached in negotiations. 

The advocacy group Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools had pushed for public testimony on the nominations. When the District was handed over to the state's control in 2001 and the SRC was created to govern it, a state law required Senate approval for the governor’s nominees, but it did not require hearings with public comment. However, Senate Republicans had considered a request from the advocacy group to hold hearings, but those hearings did not happen.

Lisa Haver, a leader with the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, traveled to Harrisburg today for Corbett’s budget address, unaware that the nominations would be confirmed. She had not heard anything about their request being denied. Upon hearing the news, Haver said she was disappointed and felt “disenfranchised” because public testimony was not allowed.

“We were shut out," said Haver. "I am disappointed that Councilman Green, as an elected official from Philadelphia, didn’t stand up for us and say that the people in my city have something to say about who is running our schools.” 

“[But] we’re going to keep going to the SRC meetings no matter what. We have to deal with whoever is there."

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Comments (39)

Submitted by anon (not verified) on February 4, 2014 7:12 pm
assume the position.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2014 7:59 pm
Bill Green will be a fine SRC Chair. We should all rally around him in a show of support as he implements his reforms.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2014 9:20 pm
Ain't happenin
Submitted by Alison McDowell (not verified) on February 4, 2014 7:07 pm
We are not a colony of Harrisburg. If we are going to be forced to be under state control, we should at least be able to testify in a public forum about such an important matter. This shows a complete lack of respect for the citizens of Philadelphia. It is a disgrace.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 4, 2014 8:02 pm
They better not sit Billy and Faye next to each other or their puppet strings may get tangled and neither will know what to say or do. Until the people fight back in a real way, speaking about lack of respect and a disgrace are useless, meaningless, chatter much like Obama's mindless con job nonsense the other night.
Submitted by Alison McDowell (not verified) on February 4, 2014 8:48 pm
It is important to point out the ways in which democracy is being undermined, because it is happening so gradually that many people don't even realize it. When your rights have been taken away it is our responsibility as citizens to speak up. I don't engage in useless chatter. If you knew me, you would realize I am one of many who are taking regular, daily actions to fight back against the privatization of our public schools.
Submitted by tom-104 on February 4, 2014 9:41 pm
And what is your program Joe? Fight back based on what? The people you accuse of meaningless chatter are at least trying to make the public aware of what is going on. People now realize more then ever before that we ARE a colony of Harrisburg with no rights and no say in the governing of our own schools. What do you propose we do about that except meaningless chatter about fighting back?
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 4, 2014 10:57 pm
ALL inner cities are under attack. The PEOPLE WILL respond at some point. History has told us that lots of times. These folks will cross the line at some point and then...................change will occur. Putzing around in circles may make some feel better but it's not the strategy or road to change. It has never been. "Tyrants give up nothing without being forced into it." You know it too, we all do.
Submitted by tom-104 on February 4, 2014 11:22 pm
But condemning people who are exposing them, which is what is needed to wake people up, is just helping the other side. And they have crossed the line, the people are too uniformed and too distracted with media hype to grasp it yet.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on February 5, 2014 9:09 pm
Joe, I have to agree with Tom. There are many people who do not see what is happening. These people need someone to wake them up and make them smell the coffee. So talking about these issues is important for raising awareness so that people know that they need to act, to stand up and do something. People won't act unless there's a problem that compels them to act. Continuing to raise awareness through dialogue and speaking about these issues is important in order to compel more citizens to act. Educator of Great Students
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 5, 2014 10:30 pm
EGS--You know I love you but now, you're out of my will !!!!!!!!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 9:42 am
If you want no oversight by Harrisburg, then kiss their money goodbye as well.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 9:28 am
They do not want oversite, they want to privatize the public schools. (And by the way, a lot of the money comes from Philadelphia)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 9:35 am
No other school district in the state needs "oversight". We are not a colony of Harrisburg!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 12:57 pm
No other school district in the state has failed so miserably as Philadelphia. That's what prompted the takeover to begin with.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 1:38 pm
And no other takeover "has failed so miserably as" the SRC reign of terror. They drove us into bankruptcy and have failed to produce anything worthwhile in over ten years at the helm.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 3:02 pm
The state has been running the District since 2001. It was not a failed District before then. There were continual fiscal problems because of underfunding. When the state took over the debt was $75 million. There has been a deficit every year since and this year it was $300 million. We are a colony of the state. They took it, drained its of resources to privatize public schools, and ran the public schools into the ground.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on February 4, 2014 8:16 pm
You know Allison, you are right. What is most disappointing to me is that, in our public schools, we teach the principles set forth in such Great documents as our Declaration of Independence, and we teach our children that they are principles which we should live by. We even highlight the Declaration of Independence before our Grand Show the Super Bowl, and we give testimony to its principles. Yet in our lives, we do not as adults, live by the very same principles we teach to our children in our schoolhouses. We do not live by the principles we supposedly honor and cherish. As The Declaration of Independence so states , ".... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...." It is so sad, that in the city where that document was conceived -- those principles are ignored.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2014 8:17 pm
Rich, PSP would call your comments the comments of an idealogue- wouldn't want that slanted mindset to form the basis of a public education system would we????????????
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2014 10:03 pm
How can a "contract" be imposed? It has to be agreed to by both parties. If working conditions are imposed then you no longer have a contract. If you no longer have a contract, you no longer have a union or you have a company union. http://tinyurl.com/yqfhtm
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 4, 2014 10:02 pm
Right, and at that point, The PFT needs to strike, if not before. That could well be "a line" crossed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 6, 2014 10:58 am
Under Act 46 the teachers will lose their certification if they strike. Now is not a good time to be a teacher out of work.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 6, 2014 11:51 am
They're not going to fire 9,000 teachers. Plus, there is a strong probability that The SRC does not have the power to impose sanctions anyway. Either way, the PFT has no real choice at this point. ALL workers better wake up and stay strong together or the corporations will turn back the clock 100 years.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 6, 2014 12:17 pm
The PFT will not strike. They can't even get a few hundred people to show up for a protest. Even if they somehow miraculously pulled it off, 90% would cross the picket lines when faced with the prospect of losing their jobs. Remember, the PFT has virtually no political support and virtually no public support. We have had three tax increases here in Philly in the last few years to help out the SDP. Now it is time for concessions, like contributing to your healthcare costs like everyone else does.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 6, 2014 12:15 pm
Could you specify what you mean by contributing to healthcare costs?
Submitted by linda (not verified) on February 6, 2014 1:10 pm
I am asking the same...$$ is taken out for my Personal Choice, then I get to copay and then depending on the doctor and service I get to pay some more if what is given by the insurance is deemed not enough. No issues of cost go up and my SALARY goes up then paying for the cost makes sense, but to ask me to pay more and I still am earning the same or asked to take a pay cut is nuts...... Linda K.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 6, 2014 1:15 pm
You're so out of touch with reality you don't even know what it means. It means that when you get your paycheck, there is a line on there with a deduction. The employer uses that deduction to help pay the premiums for your healthcare. Those deductions typically run in the $200-400 range for a single employee and $500-1,000 for an employee on the family plan per month. You will learn soon enough. Then you get your copays on top of that when you use your healthcare. Welcome to the real world.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 6, 2014 10:04 pm
The PFT leaders have caused the apathy within its rank and file, lack of support from community, and politicians. They sat dormant-doing almost absolutely, except collect their pays and benefits about a dozen years now. If they had a strategy years ago and fought back when the SRC took over and challenge the SDP legally on several issues as well as the PA legislature on Act 46, members would not be in this predicament. Worst union (PFT) leadership ever and members need to stop sugar coating their ineffectiveness and non responsivenes. PFT officials disrespect, will not communicate efficiently, substantiate violations the District does to their members. They sit idle while members get fired, not transferred or recalled according to seniority, let new hires be hired when they have members with appropriate skills and certifications on lay off, will not execute grievances among a slew of other breaches of the contract. Leaders of the PFT let these violations go on and on and on and on for over a decade due to their inaction- thus created an environment to breed this mess Philadelphia is in now.Thats why the,self selving politicians, ALEC groups and filthy rich picked Philly to bust the union and dismantle the District as it is known now as well as destroy the salaries , working conditions and benefits of teachers and staff. All AFT/PFT officials are responsible,Jordan,Kempin, Phillips, Gordon, Kirch, Harris, Weingarten,etc. Bottom line is until they leave their positions nothing will turn out positive for members of PFT or any affiliate of the AFT.Weingarten is full of hot air. All talk no real action-just like Jordan. When she does take action she comes back with buzz words like collaboration with districts, which to her means one sided collaboration weighing heavily on the districts side. She trained AFT affiliates around the country, including Jordan to roll over and make up some lame excuse you did. Email the PFT leaders and tell them to take action and have some guts on "any issue" .Talk is cheap. jjordan@pft.org lharris@pft.org dphillips@pft.org akempin@pft.org The PFT leaders have caused the apathy within its rank and file, lack of support from community, and politicians. They sat dormant-doing almost absolutely, except collect their pays and benefits about a dozen years now. If they had a strategy years ago and fought back when the SRC took over and challenge the SDP legally on several issues as well as the PA legislature on Act 46, members would not be in this predicament. Worst union (PFT) leadership ever and members need to stop sugar coating their ineffectiveness and non responsivenes. PFT officials disrespect, will not communicate efficiently, substantiate violations the District does to their members. They sit idle while members get fired, not transferred or recalled according to seniority, let new hires be hired when they have members with appropriate skills and certifications on lay off, will not execute grievances among a slew of other breaches of the contract. Leaders of the PFT let these violations go on and on and on and on for over a decade due to their inaction- thus created an environment to breed this mess Philadelphia is in now.Thats why the,self selving politicians, ALEC groups and filthy rich picked Philly to bust the union and dismantle the District as it is known now as well as destroy the salaries , working conditions and benefits of teachers and staff. All AFT/PFT officials are responsible,Jordan,Kempin, Phillips, Gordon, Steinberg, Kirsch, Harris, Weingarten,etc. Bottom line is until they leave their positions nothing will turn out positive for members of PFT or any affiliate of the AFT.Weingarten is full of hot air. All talk no real action-just like Jordan. When she does take action she comes back with buzz words like collaboration with districts, which to her means one sided collaboration weighing heavily on the districts side. She trained AFT affiliates around the country, including Jordan to roll over and make up some lame excuse you did. Email the AFT / PFT leaders and tell them to take action and have some guts on "any issue" .Talk is cheapand that's all they been doing. jjordan@pft.org lharris@pft.org dphillips@pft.org akempin@pft.org tkirsch@aftpa.org jsteinberg@pft.org
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 7, 2014 5:08 pm
Does this apply to New Jersey, Wisconsin and other states as well? It seems the taxpayers are sick and tired of the public sector unions there as well.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 7, 2014 5:27 pm
"Sick and tired" says it all for your mentality.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 1:37 pm
Act 46, a state law, explicitly allows the SRC to impose terms on the PFT. Last I checked, state law supersedes the wishes of a public sector union.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 5, 2014 3:15 pm
Last I checked we live in a democracy - or is that an illusion. Maybe we are in a dictatorship which does not allow unions and imposes working conditions on its wage slaves.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 6, 2014 8:28 am
Yes. We live in a democracy. The leaders who passed act 46 were elected by the people. That's how democracy works. Not through threats, coercion and bribes by a union looking out for its narrow self interests.
Submitted by tom-104 on February 6, 2014 10:48 am
Philadelphia is the only school district in the state that does not have local control. That is not democracy. We did not vote for this. It is tyranny by legislators from the rest of the state that have a prejudice against Philadelphia.
Submitted by Louisa (not verified) on February 5, 2014 9:37 am
PSP: 1)Supported the Governor's keeping the $45 million from Philadelphia's students in order to squeeze the teachers' union; 2) Calls the Governors choices for SRC "thoughtful", even though Bill Green wants a two-tiered school system for the haves and have-nots and it is unknown what Farah Jiminez stands for; 3)Is OK with the State Senate's holding hearings which do not allow public comment--no surprise there since its own meetings are not open to the public and the Great Schools Compact Committee, which it manages, are closed also. A stellar record!
Submitted by linda (not verified) on February 6, 2014 1:55 pm
From watching FArrah on channel 6's Sunday morning show, she seems to be pro charter school and anti union...but then I would have to acutally be able to ask her questions about that and the odds are, unless she writes a book, makes a speech or votes on something, it will be a mystery. Linda K.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on February 5, 2014 12:35 pm
The vote was 44-2 with no abstentions. This means that Senators Matthew Farnese, Tina Tartaglione, Mike Stack, Daylin Leach, Shirley Kitchen, Stewart Greenleaf, LeAnna Washington, Anthony H. Williams--all Democrats--voted to confirm the Governor's nominees. Only Senators Hughes and Dinniman voted no. None of the senators who voted to confirm stood up for the rights of their constituents to be heard. When it became public that APPS and other organizations were calling for hearings in Philadelphia at which people could speak on the nominees and their positions on education, none of them supported that position. One more reason why we need to go back to local control of our public schools.
Submitted by Deborah Grill (not verified) on February 5, 2014 1:44 pm
It is time to focus on the repeal of Act 46.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 5, 2014 8:41 pm
Yes, at least Pedro feigned sincerity. Billy is scornfully dismissive of the citizens of Philly and yes, his Dad had a very unattractive view of workers too though he tended to hide it better. Hopefully, Billy's abrasive ego will create enough anger in the folks that they react with hostility. Nutter and Williams just don't want Billy and his peeps in on the take. A POX on all their houses but until the people stop it, it won't.

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