Schools, money and the mayor’s race

 Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United for Public Education in Philadelphia, is expected to launch her campaign for a City Council at-large seat on Monday. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United for Public Education in Philadelphia, is expected to launch her campaign for a City Council at-large seat on Monday. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

This week begins as last week ended: With a discussion about the Philadelphia School Partnership’s $25 million offer to, y’know, help the school district if it approves a bunch of new charters.

Last week, mayoral candidate Jim Kenney issued a statement pretty much saying, “Yo, look ‘unnamed millionaire’ gift horses in the mouth.”

This week, NewsWorks NewsVeep Chris Satullo chimed in with, “The Philadelphia school system has received one of those Godfather-style ‘offers you can’t refuse.'”

In breaking out a charter-funding calculator and translating what the numbers involved in said offer actually mean, Satullo writes/says, “the PSP offer could prove to be a Trojan horse luring the district to fiscal ruin.”

And where should blame be assessed?

The district is getting pummeled in multiple ways. From the other side of the street, progressive advocates and unionized teachers in Philly mostly chant: “Don’t take this evil money; charters are the devil’s work.”

Ironically, about the only people with a balanced, factual, open attitude about charters are the ones everyone is threatening – the admirable team currently running the Philly schools.

They see charters as one useful tool to accelerate school progress and enhance parental options, but they don’t want to indulge the existence of lousy charters just to make an ideological point.

All of this controversy is so unnecessary. Charters need not be so divisive. So much of the anger flows out of the state’s bad charter law, which is flawed by several delusions.

You can check out Satullo’s piece via this link.

When you get done with that, hop on over to Dave Davies’ blog to read about how a “political committee formed early in 2013 to support the exploratory effort of mayoral candidate State Sen. Anthony Williams is now headed by a full-time employee of the Philadelphia school district.”

His was a jump off from a Daily News piece about Rodney Oglesby and the So Believe Again PAC. So, where does this whole thing fall on the Political Shenanigans Spectrum?

So Believe Again is, by definition, no longer a Williams vehicle. But it’s interesting to note that it paid $25,000 to Dawn Chavous, now a Williams campaign staffer between January and July of last year, and donated $10,000 to Williams campaign in December.

The school district is okay with Oglesby’s role, according the piece. But it’s strange.

Finally, in today’s edupolitical nexus of happenings, “former elementary school teacher and co-founder of Parents United” Helen Gym will make a “Major Announcement about Future Plans for Philadelphia.”

Those air quotes are used because the phrases were used in a press release about today’s 3:30 p.m. event at the Ethical Society Building on Rittenhouse Square.

This, because pretty much everyone who pays attention to such things realizes that a woman who “has spent over twenty years working to ensure every child has access to a high-quality, public education” is totally announcing a City Council at-large candidacy.

NinetyNine’ll have coverage of said announcement after it’s made.

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