Thoughts on dumping the ‘loser schools’


               I just read comments made by Mark Gleason, CEO of the Philadelphia Partnership Schools (PSP), at the AERA Convention being held in Philadelphia. He commented that it was time to dump the ‘loser schools’ – implying that it was time to shutter poorly performing public schools (based on test scores) and give them over to charter schools – one of his ‘reform’ ideas. He later apologized, in a mealy mouthed way, saying that the words came from Paul Socolar of the Public School Notebook. Mr. Socolar was talking about the portfolio approach to reform and comparing it to the wall street practice of dumping poorly performing stocks and replacing them with higher performing stocks. I am sure that Mr. Socolar was being sarcastic – knowing his and the Notebook’s reputation as an independent print source that advocates for school reform of substance – not based on test scores by the way.

                Later, Superintendent Hite – of the Philadelphia School District said that he ‘couldn’t disagree more’ with these comments, referring to Mark Gleason’s words, although just what he disagrees with is hard to tell. It is time that Mr. Hite woke up and realized who he has chosen to partner with – Mr. Gleason, who is not an educator, has undue influence in the alleged reform movement in Philadelphia – every year more public schools are being given over to charters while public education is strangled by the economic strategy of Governor Corbett. Public schools are woefully underfunded and then blamed for poor results. Mr. Hite should be spending more time advocating for full funding for public education – not the anti-teacher, student and parent approach he has been taking.

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