Friday, May 18, 2007

More ripples on the schools front

Turns out that the Commissioner who walked out of this week's hearing wasn't the only one disgruntled with the quick choice of a replacement for Paul Vallas as head of Philadelphia's schools: both Mayor Street and Governor Rendell are unhappy with the choice and with not being involved in the process.
"If you're seeking to get people to increase their investment in you, the last thing you would want to do is put this kind of surprise on the very people you're seeking investments from," said Donna Cooper, Rendell's secretary of policy. "It raises questions about whether we can have confidence that working together on the budget can be an effective partnership."
The two leaders also objected that the Commission had considered this and other school issues without waiting for their 5th member, recently appointed, to join the Board. Altogether, not a good week for the Schools Commission...

In related news, some community groups focused on improving education are getting some substantial funds from a national organization called Communities for Public Education Reform. Said the spokesman for one of the benefitting groups:
"We put too much stock in the idea that if we just get the right person in charge, or the right group of people in charge, the schools will improve," he said. "What we need in Philadelphia is much greater public engagement in the process of improving schools.
Let's hope that grassroots groups can get parents involved and give local schools the kind of individual attention that only concerned citizens can provide...


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