To: School Reform Commission
440 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
May 7, 2012
Dear members of the School Reform Commission,
I empathize with your current situation: the recession being felt across the country is still affecting us here in Philadelphia. The decisions you make now regarding layoffs, closing school buildings, reducing education programs, and more are all unpopular choices but may be viewed necessary due to financial restrictions. That being said, I think we need to do a better job at leveraging the networks across the city.
In my view, one of the critical flaws about how the city (and School District) has been running is a lack of easy communication between those with resources and those with need. Until recently it was very difficult for an individual or organization to connect with others in order to share information. Now, with the Change By Us Philly initiative (http://philly.changeby.us/) there is a way to easily connect institutions in order to benefit the community.
I am sure that schools across Philadelphia have individualized needs that could be met by local organizations without too much difficulty. The partnerships you have been talking about could be developed even without creating “achievement networks” that would parcel up the District. Perhaps a food coop would want to adopt a local school to supplement their school lunches and reduce the cost overall. Or perhaps a local business is upgrading their technology and could donate computers to allow students to connect to the Internet. The options are endless.
The best way this can work is through partnerships conducted on Change By Us Philly. I would be happy to assist in organizing potential networks but need support from the School District of Philadelphia. More people need to know about this tool: teachers, administrators, parents, and community members should be trained. Then, maybe, Philadelphia can truly be a City of Brotherly Love.
One Letter Per Day Campaign