Sixteen grim faced School District administrators sat at the front of the auditorium and listened to a steady stream of parents, students, teachers and community members question and denounce the closings of 37 schools while a crowd of 300 people joined in. Unlike the Philadelphia Inquirer, No one here thought Superintendent Hite and the SRC showed courage by taking this reckless action.
Dr. Hite had one response. There’s no money and we will make the schools better with these savings. No one wanted to hear that. No one wanted to hear the happy talk about portfolios and good seats. People know that their living standards are being attacked and their neighborhood schools are being closed while banks, corporations and the rich get subsidies. No one believes that a savings of the less than one percent of the District’s budget that projects 5 years of bare bones instruction is going to make a difference.
One student got to the microphone and said he was puzzled by Dr. Hite’s behavior because he had done research and learned that Hite had once knocked on 600 doors to keep a school open. Why wasn’t Hite doing that now he wanted to know?
Good question. Fighting for funding for quality schools is not on the School District’s agenda. They’d rather run them like businesses and let the market decide, even if this leaves thousands of families without decent options.
We handed out 300 flyers for the Thursday night vigil and march from City Hall to the SRC meeting. And earlier we released a plan that calls for investing in neighborhood schools instead of closing them.
Here’s a link to an account of the meeting in the Notebook: http://thenotebook.org/blog/125453/hite-faces-questions-playground-turf-wars-teacher-displacement