District Dismantlement moves to Philly

We are beginning to see the benefits of the New Orleans experiment in disempowering school district bureaucrats and breaking up the large districts. It is time for Rahm Emanuel to consider the same solutions for Chicago’s failing and bloated infrastructure.

Phila. School District plan would dismantle central office, close schools

“What we do know through lots of history and evidence and practice is that the current structure doesn’t work,” School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos said. “It’s not fiscally sustainable and it doesn’t produce high-quality schools for all kids.”

So, at the SRC’s direction, Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen on Tuesday announced a plan that would essentially blow up the district and start with a new structure.

It is time for Rahm Emanuel to consider the same solutions for Chicago’s failing and bloated infrastructure.

Knudsen, in a news conference, avoided references to the “Philadelphia School District.”

“We are now looking at a much broader definition of education in the city that includes not only district schools but other schools as well,” he said.

Mayor Nutter hailed the plan, which he said would push control over education down to the school level.

“If we don’t take significant action, the system will collapse,” the mayor said at a separate news conference. “If you care about kids and if you care about education, if you care about the future of this city, that’s what we need to all grow up and deal with.”

Teachers union president Jerry Jordan decried the radical restructuring as the SRC divesting itself of many of the core responsibilities of public education. He called it a “cynical, right-wing, market-driven” blueprint.

“This is totally dismantling the system,” Jordan said. “It’s a business plan crafted to privatize the services within the School District.”

Hallelujah! It is about time we did this!

Schools would have much more autonomy, with the ability to choose their own curriculums.

Though there is some precedent for this kind of work – officials pointed to the decentralization in New York City public schools – Ramos noted that what Philadelphia is proposing “is different from what many other places are doing.”

The central office, already half the size it was a year ago, will shrink further, from over 1,000 employees a few years ago to about 200 in the new model.

Entire sections of administration should be cut off and cauterized.

It’s really nice to see this start happening. We merely need to accelerate the process.