Rally at the School Board to defeat the Knudsen Plan
31 May 2012
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission expresses a desire to
introduce a plan that will, as opponents from schoolteachers, the
Occupy movement and organized labor charge:
*Closes 64 schools and keeps the names secret
*Pushes 40% of our students into charters
*Turns all of our schools over to third-‐party operators
*Tells us to live with a budget that short changes our children
*Outsources jobs and school management to private companies
Chris Satullo, formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer, expresses puzzlement as to why citizens would so forcefully and stubbornly oppose privatization of schools in the city. As I've explained in this piece,
privatization brings great profits into the private corporations that
are involved in it, but that's about all it does. The private
corporations are the only winners in such a situation. The reason for
that is that education requires a level of money and technology, clean
and comfortable classrooms, up-to-date study materials and some
audio-visual technology, but essentially, it's a very labor-intensive
process that requires teachers and other staff members to function
properly. Private enterprise brings nothing meaningful to the table.
From The Notebook:
At a raucous meeting Thursday, the School Reform Commission approved a
$2.5 billion operating budget for next year that relies on more than
$200 million in borrowing and counts on $94 million from the city that
has yet to materialize – all to maintain a minimal level of educational
As Decarcerate PA
points out, there are serious problems with a budget that pours
hundreds of millions into more prisons while starving education and
forcing the city to borrow so much. It's far from clear that the School
Reform Commission is taking the only reasonable, or even a reasonable,
We believe in a different set of priorities for Pennsylvania. Instead
of sending more people to prison, we need to address the things that
funnel people into the prison system. We want quality public schools,
stable housing, jobs and job training programs, health care and food
access, drug and alcohol treatment programs, community-based reentry
services, and non-punitive practices that address the root causes of
violence in our communities. [emphasis added]
Why would anyone oppose such reasonable and sensible proposals? Professor Paul Krugman believes he talked some British Tories
into revealing their essential viewpoint, that austerity is a means of
forcing society to adopt policies they'd prefer, and that it is not and
never was an economically necessary policy. Krugman expands on this
Parents groups are unimpressed with the SRCs plans and detail several ways in which the SRC fails.
1. The budget fails to uphold the District’s core mission to provide essential personnel and quality
instructional resources to public schools. ...
2. The District failed to include parents in decision-making. ...
3. It promotes a secretive, massive school closings plan without a full public vetting of the criteria
for closing schools or a quality plan for transferring students or
transforming schools. Many schools had deep concerns about the process
which unfolded this past spring.
4. The FY13budget balances a $218 million deficit on the backs of
children while leaving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania off the hook to
pay its fair share to schools. ...
5. Finally, the budget promotes non-public options at the expense of
public ones. ...
Pennsylvania can do better!