August 15, 2007
THE MOST counterproductive trend in public institutions is a tendency for each new administration to cast aside all that has gone before. Years of progress can get wasted in the process. That's why the appointment of Sandra Dungee Glenn to chair the School Reform Commission is a sign that the progress the Philadelphia schools have made under the SRC's city-state partnership will continue. Glenn, appointed by Mayor Street as one of the city's two appointments to the five-member SRC, was named by Gov. Rendell to replace James Nevels, the SRC's founding chairman.
February 25, 2010
The School Reform Commission voted unanimously yesterday to approve amendments to a controversial policy that would change the way charter schools can increase their enrollment or change their grade configuration. The policy would have permitted charters to apply for the changes only every five years, when a school's charter was up. Now, charters can apply for changes at renewal or during the third year of their charter. Until the proposed charter-school policy change, the SRC considered requests from charters on an individual basis and has had no policy for evaluating the success of each school.
January 19, 2007
WE HAD hoped that talk of naming a Latino to replace Daniel Whelan, who is white, on the School Reform Commission would become a reality. After all, Latino students make up 17 percent of the district's 180,000 students. And it's a population that is struggling. Though the fastest-growing population in the city, Latinos have the lowest graduation rate and highest dropout rate - a staggering 50 percent - according to a Johns Hopkins University study. Instead, Gov. Rendell yesterday nominated Denise McGregor Armbrister, a highly qualified executive who runs the Wachovia Regional Foundation.
November 8, 2007
WE WELCOME Heidi A. Ramirez's nomination to the School Reform Commission with great expectations. Ramirez, a young education specialist from Temple University, comes with both refreshing youth (she's 33) and an impressive resume that focuses on urban education, poor and minority students - exactly who comprise the School District of Philadelphia. With those credentials, we expect her to hit the ground running. And we are pleased that Gov. Rendell has selected for the board a Latina who, we hope, will have significant empathy for the district's growing Hispanic constituency.
May 6, 2011
People are rightly questioning whether the Philadelphia School Reform Commission is fulfilling its role as an independent watchdog of the district's operations. At the very least, Gov. Corbett needs to show more concern by filling a seat on the governing body that has been vacant for months. David F. Girard-diCarlo was the only Republican on the five-member panel when he abruptly resigned in February. His absence has left a void in which few dissident views are expressed. Further damaging public confidence in the SRC is the poor leadership displayed recently by its chairman, Robert L. Archie, whose apparent breaches of conflict-of-interest rules ought to lead to his resignation.
August 25, 2009 |
AS INTERIM chief executive officer of the Philadelphia schools in 2000-2001, there were many days I wished I'd a magic wand to make board members disappear. I had a job to do, so how could I answer all their questions, from the mundane to the important to the inappropriate? So I can understand how School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman might've been frustrated by inquisitive SRC member Heidi Ramirez, who recently announced her resignation, citing her frustration at being ignored.
August 26, 2009 |
AMID SPECULATION that Heidi Ramirez is leaving the School Reform Commission under political pressure, the status of the commission has grown even murkier. Gary Tuma, Gov. Rendell's spokesman, confirmed last night that Rendell has withdrawn his nomination for Joseph Dworetzky, who was his pick for another open spot on the board that oversees Philadelphia's public schools. Tuma said he wasn't sure when the nomination was pulled, but said that it was at least a week ago. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the nomination was recalled June 30 - the deadline for the state budget.
December 17, 2009 |
It's not only South Philadelphia High where immigrant students face problems, parents and an activist told the School Reform Commission yesterday. Even younger students in the neighborhood are routinely the victims of racism and bullying because they don't speak English, the parents said. Parents who don't speak English are ignored, and the educational services for their children are inadequate, they added. Angelica Viceriana, whose children attend Jackson Elementary in South Philadelphia, said she had been threatened by a district staffer when she signed up to speak to the commissioners.
April 21, 2009 |
The School Reform Commission was poised to award a $90,000 lobbying contract to Duane Morris Government Affairs L.L.C., an arm of the law firm that employs new panel chair Robert Archie. But last night, it appeared that Duane Morris was out. Archie said he would ask his law partners to withdraw the firm's proposal, which was set for a vote by the commission at tomorrow's meeting. He had nothing to do with the decision to give the state lobbying contract to Duane Morris, Archie said, adding that the choice was made before he was named to the panel.
May 18, 2007 |
Just two weeks before the Philadelphia School District hopes to close a budget deficit with more state and city funding, its leaders have angered the very two people who could help make it possible - Gov. Rendell and Mayor Street. Rendell and Street called into question the management capabilities of the School Reform Commission after it unilaterally appointed an interim management team to lead the district without consulting either leader. In a sharply worded statement issued yesterday, Street and Rendell opposed the commission's decision Wednesday to appoint Thomas M. Brady, a retired U.S. Army officer, as interim chief executive officer of the 174,000-student district.