"We don't want to sacrifice sustainability for speed."
This will be the reasoning behind the newest plan to phase in School Advisory Councils in more schools in the District, according to the official charged with coordinating that effort.
Karren Dunkley, chief deputy of the District's Office of Parent, Family, Community Engagement and Faith-Based Partnerships, said on Monday that the District would soon develop a proposal to launch SACs in the 115 lowest-performing schools.
It is very clear at this point that the SRC needs to change. It needs to rebuild trust, engage with the public and be responsive, establish credibility and guidance for ethical conduct, define its role more clearly and share that with the rest of us. I would add, the SRC also needs to demonstrate that they are in control, get a handle on the District's finances, and improve transparency.
How will we know that change is happening? What does each of these things look like? What will be the manifest signs of change?
Battered by layoffs, cutbacks, and attacks on their unions, teachers are joining the Occupy Wall Street movement, standing with students, parents, and community activists concerned about public education.
In New York, the United Federation of Teachers has been among the most active unions in supporting the occupation. In Chicago, the Chicago Teachers Union and CORE (the Caucus of Rank and File Educators) has joined the action. Here in Philadelphia, rank and file teachers and student activists were well represented in the Sunday march to the Liberty Bell. Retirees are a fixture at the City Hall daily gatherings.
It's not hard to understand why.
Natalie Lucas (left), assistant director of expanded learning at Foundations, Inc., serves Martin Luther King High School senior Michael George (right) as he gets ready to enjoy a meal he and other students prepared for a community lunch held in West Oak Lane in August. Students participating in King’s Seeds for Learning: Beyond the Farm program, sponsored by Foundations, worked with a local chef to make healthy dishes using fresh produce grown on the school’s campus. More than 150 community residents, including elected officials and nonprofit leaders, were served that day.
El problema (estudiantes que estaban siendo intimidados en el camino de ida y vuelta a la escuela) no era tan fuera de lo común, pero la reacción de la comunidad escolar sí.
En cuestión de semanas, todas las esquinas en un radio de cinco cuadras de la escuela elemental estaban siendo patrulladas por padres y miembros de la comunidad antes de comenzar el día escolar y después de la salida. Los padres también establecieron un programa de “pasillos seguros” dentro de la escuela. Toda la intimidación terminó.
The education piece of the platform is still in development, but POWER organizer David Koppisch said that vocational initiatives, those directly tethered to the changing job market, would guide the group’s interests.
Language access services are diminished this school year as a result of budget cuts, so parents and community groups are strategizing to ensure English language learners (ELLs) get needed supports.
The District has eliminated one language access coordinator position, 16 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teachers, and 38 bilingual counseling assistants.
Editors' note: To give all of our readers, both on the web and in print, an opportunity to share their thoughts, we have changed the name and scope of our letters column.
We encourage readers to continue to mail, fax, or email letters to the editor (see box below). But we are also making space here for a variety of types of feedback – from comments via email, on blog posts, and through tweets. We will tell you how each came to us.
UPDATE: The District is planning to develop a proposal to start School Advisory Councils at 115 of the lowest-performing schools.
The problem – students being bullied going to and from school – wasn't that unusual, but the school community's response was.
Told that Martin Luther King High's multimillion-dollar charter school deal ran aground on a reef of Philadelphia politics, Jeffrey Henig could only joke: "I'm shocked! Shocked!"
Henig, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, specializes in urban education reform. He won't say that cronyism and corruption are inevitable where charters and other "turnaround" models are concerned. But the risk is always there, he said, and the antidote is transparent, accountable governance.