Radio Times

A critical look at Philadelphia’s school reorganization plan

May 23, 2012


Hour 1

Last month, leaders of the School District of Philadelphia unveiled a radical reorganization plan that would transform – or “blow up” – the district’s structure, closing 40 schools over the next two years and more each year after that, slashing hundreds of administrative jobs, and creating entrepreneurial “achievement networks” to compete to lead groups of schools within the city. The plan has received some praise and at least as much criticism, from City Council, which is being asked to approve a tax-system overhaul for Philadelphia that could yield $94 million for the cash-strapped school district. We’ve listened to the voices of the administration and School Reform Commission; now we devote an hour to critics of the plan. JERRY JORDAN is president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; he recently testified against the plan before Philadelphia City Council. Philadelphia school parent HELEN GYM blogs for The Public School Notebook, leads Asian Americans United and founded Parents United for Public Education; she recently wrote an open letter to the district’s Chief Recovery Officer and the plan’s architect, “You’re Not Speaking to Me, Mr. Knudsen.” And DANIEL DENVIR, staff writer for the Philadelphia City Paper and contributing writer at Salon, whose recent City Paper cover story asked, “Who’s Killing Philly Public Schools?

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