Slow-motion catastrophe

9 Jun

I hate writing about a problem without a good idea for a solution. But to be honest, this one is too big to ignore.

The School District of Philadelphia has just sent layoff notices to 3,700 people. The mind boggles.

This is the latest chapter more than a half-century of more or less continual financial and political crisis for the district. The most recent round started with a state takeover of the district back in 2001.

The takeover move established the School Reform Commission as the body in charge of the district, including hiring and firing the superintendent (which we do pretty often here, although I understand the tenure for big-city superintendents averages 3-1/2 years nationwide. So maybe Philadelphia isn’t that unusual).

The SRC has three members appointed by the governor and two by the mayor. Unsurprisingly, this is a recipe for — well, you name it. Gridlock, patronage, incompetence, frustration…the list could go on and on.

There are a lot of people doing yeoman’s work on Phiadelphia education issues — too many to list here. But for starters, try searching #PhillyEducation on Twitter, and reading the Notebook.

Next time I write about this I’ll try to have something more constructive to say.

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