440 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
May 16, 2012
Dear members of the School Reform Commission,
In the creation of the “achievement network” plan fostered by the Boston Consulting Group I wonder if they consulted any of the current School Advisory Councils for recommendations on if they wanted to be a part of one in the first place? Instead of asking questions of those who would be affected by these changes, they simply crafted a plan that would affect tens of thousands of students as well as their families across Philadelphia.
Additionally, I wonder if the organizations that lobby to take over these groups of schools are even wanted in those neighborhoods. As is evident from many protesting parents, students, and community members over the past few weeks people can be difficult to deal with if you impose things on them.
In recent discussions I have heard people talk about the possibility of the University of Pennsylvania being looked at as a potential organization that could lead this charge in West Philadelphia. But do those residents feel that is their best option? Do they have positive associations with the university’s history in the region? These are important questions to consider when forcing people to the table to talk.
Instead of creating a opportunity for animosity, I think it behooves us to allow for dialog and self-conducted needs assessments to be conducted. If people from these neighborhoods could identify a specific need and then approach one of these institutions for assistance without risk of losing control, perhaps the outcomes for students would improve anyway. With examples of negativity perceived in the past, I think that would be a valuable option.
If you can reach out to these institutions, we can forge relationships. Just give us time and help.
One Letter Per Day Campaign