Joyce Wilkerson chaired her first meeting tonight as the new commissioner of the School Reform Commission.Before her appointment by Mayor Jim Kenney to the SRC in early November, Wilkerson has worked at Temple as the senior adviser to the President for community relations and development.
During the first meeting as chair of the SRC, Wilkerson gave parents and school community members the opportunity to voice their opinions on issues within their school community.
Over the course of the four-hour-long meeting featured nearly 50 speakers from many Philadelphia schools, spoke out at the meeting and expressed their concerns and their hopes for Wilkerson. Some of the topics parents addressed include changes in schools’ social climates, school closings and facilities management, among others.
“Education is no longer about democracy and the common good,” Philadelphia resident Diane Payne said during the meeting to the SRC. “It’s about competition and draining our tax dollars to a two-tiered system, that coincidentally blinds the pockets of those on the receiving ends: privatizing and outsourcing,”
Many parents demanded that the SRC takes into account the many changes within the school systems that have caused conflicts within the communities, and has also resulted in clashes between the public and city government.
While there were many community members that expressed these concerns, several people used their public comment allotment to welcome Wilkerson to the SRC.
Towards the end of the evening, Wilkerson said was happy that the meeting had attendance from so many parents, students, teachers and support staff that came out to advocate for the Philadelphia School District.
“It’s important for us to hear what you have to say,” Wilkerson said, closing out the meeting. “It gives a different perspective. Your participation in these events is very significant to us. We look for the partnership with you, and we appreciate the information you provide.”