Philadelphia School District announces its dissolution
Philadelphia public schools are on the operating table, reeling from a knockout blow of heavy state budget cuts. It was too much to bear after decades of underfunding and mismanagement at the hands of shortsighted Philadelphians and mean-spirited politicians in Harrisburg.
So the District is today announcing that it’s going to call it quits. Its organs will be harvested, in search of a relatively vital host.
“Philadelphia public schools is not the School District,” Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsentold a handful of reporters at yesterday’s press conference laying out the five-year plan proposed to the School Reform Commission. “There’s a redefinition, and we’ll get to that later.”
He got to it: talk about “modernization,” “right-sizing,” “entrepreneurialism” and “competition.”
Forty schools would close next year, and six additional schools would be closed every year thereafter until 2017. Closing just eight schools this year prompted an uproar.
Anyhow, the remaining schools would get chopped up into “achievement networks” where public or private groups compete to manage about 25 schools, and the central office would be chopped down to a skeleton crew of about 200. District HQ has already eliminated about half of the 1,100-plus positions that existed in 2010.
This is all aimed at closing a $218 million deficit for the coming year, part of a $1.1 billion cumulative deficit by 2017. Charter schools will teach an estimated 40 percent of students by 2017.
And this rosy picture is premised upon City Council agreeing to fork over $91 million in additional property tax revenue. If not, things are even worse.
There will be $156 million cut from personnel costs and $149 million from payments to charters. (Looks like everyone was eating from the same shrinking pie after all.)
And Knudsen threatened to outsource all custodial, maintenance and transportation work to private companies unless union workers could underbid them.
“There are other people out there who do these things, if not better, then at least less expensively.”
This seems to now be the theme song for public education in cities like Philadelphia: other people do these things maybe not better, but cheaper.
I asked if the five-year plan would address the District’s core problems: severe teacher understaffing, too few school police, too few counselors, too few extracurriculars, too few libraries, too few everything? Is this just triage?
“The things that other networks do in other parts of the country,” said Knudsen, “is that these networks attract resources.”
What he meant was a startling admission: like some high-end charter schools, Philly schools would panhandle for donations from rich people.
Dale MezzacappafromThe Notebook asked a follow up: In response to Dan’s question, are you saying that philanthropy will pick up the shortfall?
Not just that, Knudsen conceded. The economy could also get better.
I almost felt bad asking the question. Knudsen didn’t run the state government that has for decades failed to provide Philadelphia students with access to a decent and equal education. This is triage, and triage is ugly. But critics will surely charge that the District plan only makes a horrible situation worse. Stay tuned for more in a few weeks.
Emphasis (& shock) are mine.
Power Animal used to be one of the best bands to play my old house in Philly. Always good to see them getting some much deserved love.
Great folks, incredible music and energy, and I pretty much guarantee that if you listen to get to witness the glorious spectacle of one of their performances you will be forever hooked.
Along with a long-winded halfway state-of-the-union-y post that I’ve been working on for weeks now. Soon. (Ideally around the same time I manage to find a way to salvage “Sanctuary.”)
drinking in the dark - 28.of.52
this is such a stupid song
so please don’t sing along
just head back to all your friends
make fun, and make amends of all the
best of better halves, and times you wished you’d laughed
if you weren’t so preoccupied
with all the things you can’t describe
and all the ways you don’t align
you’ve been reading signs and think
there is no limitation to the angle of my width
as you arm your desperation with anything that fits
or will give you some sensation when the sky is dimly lit
well stop me
if i’ve hit a mark
or if you’re done
drinking in the dark
your fears are condensating
clouding up your mirror
while your hands get caught on every
minor threat, or minor fifth
distraction’s now a continent
but not the way you’d think
and we’ll keep it safe and sound
you see, there’s no direction
to the pattern that you’ve picked
get some other man to sign your checks
at least till something clicks
and if meteors don’t strike you
or talent somehow drifts
before his whims tear you asunder
with tiny calculated risks
and you’ll start to take your place
but till then
you’ll simply sit
on a shelf
and wait for it
Mountain Brothers - Paperchase (Positive Cash Flow Mix) LYRICS + BEST QUALITY (by AsianAmericanHipHop)
[[ Mountain Brothers was an American hip hop group originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named after the legend of 108 mountain bandits depicted in the Chinese novel Water Margin, the group formed in 1994 after all attended the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania.
The group is considered cultural pioneers, being one of the first Asian American hip-hop groups, and also for the lack of sampling of other music in construction of their own. Mountain Brothers released two critically acclaimed albums, Self Vol 1 and Triple Crown. Some of their more notable songs included “Paperchase,” “Galaxies (The Next Level),” and “Thoroughbred.” ]]
Charles is an old friend of mine and here’s his band receiving some much deserved love. Click on the link for the ability to listen/download the entire session and check them out. For fans of good music, nostalgia, shoegaze, etc.
Born out of a shared love of ’90s dreampop and shoegaze touchstones (you know the ones: Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine), Philly-based quintet Ports Of Call moved stridently out of the haze on their latest EP, Fractals. Released earlier this year on brilliant orange vinyl, it finds the band embracing jangling, effervescent pop hooks—a progression that continues with the new songs premiered in their Key Studio Session. Heck, they even played a number called “Pop Song” (though I’m partial to their performance of “Ballinora” from Fractals). Look for more from them next month, when they’ll be Bands In The Backyard‘s featured artist and headline a gig at Milkboy Philly.
occidental romance | thecolortwo
new stuff & things. still stuck in my head.
do we all look the same effort you caught yourself between rinse, lather, repeat
constant to interchange
a new toy to discover
has disconcerted me
if I don’t work
sprung a leak
and every troubling thing
(that hovers over me) - replace
this feigned shock and disbelief
as your patterns find a similar wave
and travel back out to
see if there’s a reason to stay
I’m waking up asleep
please circulate my veins for a while
and i’ll guide you through these streams.
I’ll even show the holdings you claim.
I can’t remember dreams
but still I know you were there
apply till you get it right
do we all look the same
you caught yourself between
rinse, lather, repeat