Menu
Paid Advertisement
view counter

December 2012 Vol. 20. No. 3 Focus on Fallout from a Cheating Scandal

In our opinion

Closings: Do no harm

By the Notebook on Nov 21, 2012 12:04 PM

One principle that School Reform Commission members cited in their decisions about school closings earlier this year was “Do no harm.” Commissioners rejected a staff recommendation to close two schools, E.M. Stanton and Sheppard, when confronted with evidence that the schools were solid performers with strong community support.

Now District officials say they need to close dozens more underutilized schools by next fall. The SRC’s commitment to do no harm will be sorely tested. 

We think the only way to ensure smart decisions is to scale back the project and slow down the process. 

Why? The District’s usual measures of school performance heavily rely on PSSA scores. Those results cannot be taken at face value because of possible cheating. The District and SRC need to establish reliable indicators for judging whether schools are successful.

Some other reasons it’s smart to slow down:

• The most deteriorated, underutilized schools are concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods. These communities need assurances that they will not be further devastated by closings.

• Some underutilized schools may be saved by finding mixed uses for the buildings. But no process is in place for helping communities find alternative uses for vacant space.

• The District’s central office has been decimated by budget cuts and will be overwhelmed by massive transfers of students and staff. The process was rocky this year, when only eight schools were closed.

• The District has not adequately explained how the closings will save money. Other districts have found that expected savings are eaten by transition costs.

Finally, we urge taking time to tap community wisdom. The impact of these decisions will be with us for our lifetimes. 

Comments (2)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 28, 2012 3:39 pm
Which schools will close? Has this been determined?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 8, 2012 12:08 pm
SDP needs $$$$? Duh...Sell 440 & relocate those people in underutilized schools!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Table of Contents

Read the latest print issue

 

Philly Ed Feed

Become a Notebook member

 

Top

Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300
notebook@thenotebook.org

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy