On Monday, after four months on the job, Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite, Jr. made public his blueprint for turning around the city’s public schools. Its two broad goals are to improve academics on all levels — from early childhood through high school — and to provide some sort of financial stability for the troubled school district which faces an increasing outflow of students to charter schools and a budget shortfall of $1 billion dollars in the next five years. In an effort to conserve dwindling resources, several weeks ago Hite announced the closure of 37 elementary, middle school and high schools which will save the district $37 million a year. And while his vision is ambitious, the District faces overwhelming challenges in its implementation including a complicated relationship with Harrisburg and future labor negotiations with the teachers’ union that may require concessions in terms of compensation and work rules. We’ve invited Philadelphia School Superintendent WILLIAM HITE, JR. to our studio this morning to talk about his goals for public education and his ideas about how we might achieve them.
GUEST IN STUDIO FULL
WILLIAM HITE, JR.
Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia; throughout his career in education he has been a teacher, principal, central office administrator and Superintendent. Prior to coming to Philadelphia, he was Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, Assistant Superintendent in Georgia’s Cobb County School District and director of middle school instruction and middle and high school principal in Henrico County, Virginia.
Photo: Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks