Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Budget Problems and No Accountability

We have had a great 4 years in a Philadelphia Public School; my children are thriving and learning valuable life lessons. 4 years straight of excellent teachers (I wish the discourse would change from blaming the teachers for “all bad” in the world.)

However, the recent SRC meeting has made me panic a bit, not for my school or my children’s future but for OUR childrens’ collective futures and the future of public education. I am struck with how apparently smart and wealthy we are as a society and we cannot figure out how to educate our children. Yet in years past we were able to educate them very well…hmmm.

I am also skeptical of the consistent view that one person can solve all our problems; we need to wake up and realize it will take some collective work and cooperation to get out of this mess. Public input would be nice.

I do have questions for the SRC. Does the new Chief Recovery Officer have any experience in education? Any experience in organizations that have a large volunteer workforce (parents, care givers and community)? Any experience with connecting with community organizations?

Also I do not have a background in finance but it seems counter intuitive that we are hiring a combination position superintendent and chief financial officer, yet we are maintaining the people currently in those jobs. If they cannot do the job they need to be let go their combined incomes (even with a cut) are most likely 8-10 times what our school had to give back this year. 

Finally, after looking at the budget line items to be cut, they are focused on things that benefit children with no discussion of some items that were problematic during the last “administration”.  These include no bid contracts, the excessive testing we pay for and any other consultants that we pay for. Pay the teachers who are directly interacting with my children. 

As always Helen Gym gives an excellent overview on the current situation. So let’s get informed and act on behalf of all our children.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friends of Jenks

The development of the Friends of Jenks has been a great journey involving parents, staff and potential parents.  A positive effort in a time of difficulty.