November 5, 2007
Parents United statement on the appointment of Heidi Ramirez to the SRC
Parents United for Public Education is looking forward to working with Professor Heidi Ramirez in improving the public's trust of the School Reform Commission.
Prof. Ramirez's appointment raises expectations for strengthening the "education" side of the SRC. With her education background, we expect her to be aggressive about reducing class size, using research to push education and classroom focused reforms, strengthening funding at the classroom level, and holding the line on contracting in the District. We believe diversity on the SRC is essential, and expect that Prof. Ramirez's background will bring in specific concerns about diverse communities into an overall vision for the school district. In particular, we ask her to address many concerns about services to English language learners and bilingual students.
At the same time, we expect her appointment to result in moving the SRC toward a more inclusive and transparent decision-making process. Prof. Ramirez arrives at a time of critical transition for the SRC as it works to rebuild public trust and assure parents and school personnel that creating quality classrooms are at the top of the agenda. We have made great strides already but we still ask that Prof. Ramirez support parents' concerns to change the SRC meeting formats to include evening and community based meetings, to get out into the public more frequently, and to engage directly with different community, advocacy and parent groups in building the reform agenda.Finally, we want to thank Governor Rendell for considering community concerns around the SRC appointment. Parents United believes that if an SRC is to be effective and gain public trust, its commissioners must be educated about our schools and engaged with our school communities. We will work to ensure that the Governor's appointment is a step away from "politics as usual" and towards a more responsive, publicly accountable Commission.
October 18, 2007
At the SRC: lower class size, art and music new priorities
At the regular School Reform Commission meeting yesterday, the SRC announced its top priorities. In today's Daily News, SRC Commissioner James Gallagher said:
"What we're doing is focusing on a small menu of high-powered, academically driven ideas that we think are doable, that we have the money to achieve. These things are not pie-in-the-sky, wild dreams. We're not making promises to people that will turn them off - something that has happened in the past."
Read the Commission's report here. (PDF)
At the same time, there is much work ahead. The District remains committed to privatization (despite numerous studies showing they generally haven't outperformed district schools with the more than $100 million in management fees they've collected), we're still limited by our finances, and we face the grim necessity of bringing up nearly a quarter of District schools that are classified as "Corrective Action 2" schools. We salute the dozens of students from Philadelphia Student Union who were actively outspoken yesterday on the needed priorities for these schools, and students from Youth United for Change advocating for Kensington H.S.
What we know is that when active, organized and committed parents come to the table, things change -- usually for the better.
August 14, 2007
Statement on the appointment of Sandra Dungee Glenn
Parents United supports Governor Rendell's naming of Commissioner Sandra Dungee Glenn as chair of the School Reform Commission.
Commissioner Glenn has shown leadership and courage particularly in taking positions that have been unpopular with some of her fellow SRC commissioners, but which often reflect the real needs and input of parents, students and community members. Most notably, we support her stands on class size reduction, accountability for EMOs and privately managed schools, resource equity across the district, the African American studies mandate, and community engagement efforts. We particularly appreciate Commissioner Glenn's efforts to remain accessible to the constituents she serves.Parents United looks forward to working with SRC Chair Sandra Dungee Glenn on rebuilding public trust, and improving a budget process that supports academic achievement and accountability for all schools.
August 10, 2007
Statement on the resignation of Chairman James Nevels
the past five years, Chairman James Nevels has presided over and been a
leading figure in shaping one of the most controversial periods of the
Philadelphia public schools. Parents United for Public Education became
activated largely under Chairman Nevels's stewardship of the School
Reform Commission, as an organized parent response to a crushing
deficit situation that resulted in more than 50 Home and School
Associations and parent-led organizations executing a vote of "No
Confidence" in the SRC's financial plans for our schools.
Statement on elimination of transpasses (6/24/08)
Statement on the EMO decision (6/19/08)
Statement on GCA requirements (1/15/08)
Statement on vote of No Confidence (5/29/07)