Philadelphia School District to Effectively Come to an End, Making Way for Privatization, Union-Busting
Hard economic times, poverty, and budget cuts have left the Philadelphia school district in dire straits.
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," reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The plan - subject to public comment and SRC approval - would close 40 schools next year and 64 by 2017, move thousands more students to charters, and dismantle the central office in favor of "achievement networks" that would compete to run groups of 25 schools and would sign performance-based contracts.
What does this mean for Philly students and workers?
Friend of AlterNet Daniel Denvir lays it bare for the Philadelphia City Paper:
There will be $156 million cut from personnel costs and $149 million from payments to charters. (Looks like everyone was eating from the same shrinking pie after all.)
And Knudsen threatened to outsource all custodial, maintenance and transportation work to private companies unless union workers could underbid them.
"There are other people out there who do these things, if not better, then at least less expensively."
This seems to now be the theme song for public education in cities like Philadelphia: other people do these things maybe not better, but cheaper.