Tell the Philly school district what you think 'local control' should look like - Generocity Philly

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Dec. 14, 2017 7:20 am

Tell the Philly school district what you think ‘local control’ should look like

Mayor Jim Kenney is putting together a nominating panel that will select 27 community members to be considered for the School District of Philadelphia's new Board of Education.

Members of the Our City, Our Schools coalition.

(Photo via twitter.com/Vamos_Juntos_)

It’s been a month since the city’s School Reform Commission, a five-member governing body appointed by the state of Pennsylvania to run the School District of Philadelphia since 2001, voted to dissolve itself and bring local control back to a school district that’s still in need of help.

The ball is now in Mayor Jim Kenney’s court as he appoints a nominating panel by sometime next month. They’ll then have 40 days to recommend 27 others for Kenney to consider placing on a new 13-member Board of Education.

But first our mayor wants to hear what his constituents think are the most important things a locally appointed school board should focus on. Philadelphians are invited to pick their answers for these three questions:

  • What area is most important for our schools to improve?
  • In the overall school board, what attributes are most important to you?
  • In individual school board members, what attributes are most important to you?
Share your thoughts

Consider this, though: In a city council hearing held by the Law and Government Committee on Tuesday, it was made clear before this survey even came out that a number of community members want those most affected by any big school district decisions to lead the effort — parents, educators and students.

And a number of local immigrant parents at the hearing pointed out the need for an elected school board to include all types of Philly residents, not only registered voters.

Helen Gym, the councilwoman (and former education activist) who’s been one of the more vocal advocates for bringing local control back to Philly’s education system, was also on this morning’s broadcast of Democracy Now!, with grassroots organizer Kendra Brooks to talk about how the fight for education has brought different stakeholder groups like immigrant rights and criminal justice organizations together.

“We were really talking about our children, our neighborhoods, our families and the city,” Gym said. “In particular, the education and criminal justice movements so closely align together because so many of our young people are involved in dysfunctional systems. … That requires us to think very differently.”

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