Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Corporate Greed Threatens Gains in City High Schools

Take a look at this piece on Hallwatch, which condemns the School Reform Commission for considering the elimination of a highly successful program that targets low-income high school students, called the "Talent Development Model."

This program is being run at 5 high schools in the city and is based on a model created by John Hopkins University. It has "boosted attendance, on-time promotion, graduation, and successful completion of algebra at Philadelphia high schools," according to the new research findings reported in an excellent piece by the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. In short, this new model has been successful at creating the kinds of advances and improvements that Paul Vallas pays lip service to regularly.

So, why is the program in jeopardy?

Money of course. The implementation of this new model costs $300 more per student then is spent in other high schools managed by the District. However, the argument for shutting down a successful, quantitatively proven program due to fiscal belt tightening looks pretty flimsy when this year's budget include even more expansions of private contracts for management of schools.

Sounds to me like another case of Vallas and his Republican puppet-masters looking out for their corporate buddies. Philadelphians can not let public dollars be taken away from a program that clearly improves performance at city high schools in order to give more to private corporations.

While Council and the Mayor dominate the majority of our political attention, the Republicans have taken over powerful agencies like the Parking Authority and the School District and are giving away the farm as fast as they can.

You can weigh in these and other Republican hijinks at the SRC meeting today:

What: Public Meeting of School Reform Commission
Where: Central Administration Building, 21st and the Parkway
When: Wednesday, June 8, 2005 at 1:00 pm

6 Comments:

At 8:48 AM, Blogger DanielUA said...

Sounds to me like another case of Vallas and his Republican puppet-masters looking out for their corporate buddies. Philadelphians can not let public dollars be taken away from a program that clearly improves performance at city high schools in order to give more to private corporations.

Ray, I will just say that I think this is a pretty tenuous connection.

Obviously, Vallas and the SRC need to keep this program. But, to equate this with corporate Republican greed seems to be a stretch.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger Friedman said...

"Sounds to me like another case of Vallas and his Republican puppet-masters" - Ray, you don't know much about the District or its CEO if you think that he's somehow controlled by "puppet-masters". I've been in government and politics for over a decade and I've never seen anybody with the independent vision that Vallas has.

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger Pat Evans/Butcher/Wicks said...

Last I checked, James Nevels was still a Republican. As the chair of the SRC, he clearly wields a lot of power.

He was also clearly put in place by the Schweiker/Ridge Ed Department who wanted to make sure they had someone around they could "talk to."

Also, as far as I know the SRC is still run by 1/2 R's and 1/2 D's in a city where 3 of 4 voters are Dems.

Meanwhile, Paul Vallas is privatizing and subcontracting everything he can while apparently cutting proven programs operated within the confines of the "regular" district.

You connect the dots...

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger Friedman said...

Ray, like I said, you don't know much about the District, how it's being operated, and what Vallas is doing and how independent he is. Where you see "dots" I see the most effective urban school chief that this City has ever had. Yea, there are Republicans on the SRC and Vallas is privatizing some services (which, by the way, makes perfect sense in terms of economics and service delivery). You're wrong about him privatizing "everything he can" and as far as cutting proven programs, are you contemplating the ones that the district has added? As Sen. Patrick Moynihan said, "you're entitled to your own opinion; you are not entitled to your own facts." The fact is, acdemic performance has never been on a better trajectory and fiscal management of the district has never been better.

 
At 5:43 PM, Blogger Pat Evans/Butcher/Wicks said...

There are a lot of folks in Chicago who would disagree with your analysis.

The Paul Vallas Hoax
http://www.substancenews.com/March02/

 
At 6:26 PM, Blogger Friedman said...

Ok Ray - I'll see you at the next Flat Earth Society Meeting. But seriously, sure Vallas has his detractors in Chi-town - he's got plenty of them here as well (many of them are not happy to see the status quo changed). What's the point of mentioning that? Do you have a better person for the job - who would you recommend? What policies would you suggest for him/her, aside from not being manipulated by Republican puppet-masters?

 

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