It’s down to the last month for Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Shweiker and Philadelphia Mayor John Street to reach an agreement regarding the future of city schools. The governor made his proposal for the Philadelphia School District on Thursday, Nov. 1 at Carpenters’ Historic Hall.
|“The month of November is about discussing its content and negotiating things for the mayor and I to meld and bring it together so that we can make this home to the finest urban school district in the country.”|
— Mark Shweiker, Pennsylvania Governor
“The month of November is about discussing its content and negotiating things for the mayor and I to meld and bring it together so that we can make this home to the finest urban school district in the country,” Schweiker said.
Surrounded by a panel of mostly African-American officials, Schweiker recommended a plan to privatize the management of Philadelphia public schools. The plan to improve district’s performance includes hiring Edison Schools Inc., a private company, to run the city schools.
“I see Edison as an accomplished manager of schools and also someone that does a real good job at the school level when it comes to leadership and pressing for the resources that they need,” Schweiker said.
The school district is faced with a $216 million budget deficit, chronic teacher shortages, and poor test scores. The $150 million plan was delivered to the Street administration one day before the press conference.
Street, however, said he was the last to know about this plan and newspaper editorial boards got a briefing before he did. When informed the mayor thought bad faith was demonstrated in the way the proposal was delivered, Schweiker replied, “Well he’s not said anything to me.”
There are five levers in this plan to improve performance. They include the creation of a stable governance body committed to a long-term academic and financial reform plan, an increase of resources in education, improved results in low-performing schools, and an enhanced curriculum.
The focus of the proposal is the creation of a new committed team that will be rewarded for results and accountable for failure.
City officials are opposed to any privatization of individual schools or central administration, but the governor emphasized that this plan was open for negotiation and will be discussed throughout the month of November.