Philadelphia, PA — Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large) issued the following statement on the announcement that Dr. William Hite will not renew his contract as Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.
“The announcement that Dr. William Hite will not renew his contract with the School District of Philadelphia comes as a relief to many of our school community members who have been repeatedly failed by the District’s leadership over the past decade. During Hite’s tenure, Philadelphia saw an unprecedented number of neighborhood schools shuttered, a sharp rise in the tide of school privatization, and repeatedly botched attempts to remediate toxic building conditions across the city. While Dr. Hite still has ten months remaining in his contract, my sincere hope is that this change in leadership can be more than just symbolic and spark real change in the District’s approach to decision-making and to school-community relationships.
“It is essential that the search for a new superintendent include the voices and experiences of school community members and not take place behind closed doors. It is essential that the new superintendent have real experience in schools that serve working class and poor neighborhoods, a demonstrated track record of listening to these communities, and a commitment to transforming the status quo, which has been failing communities like mine for generations. And lastly, it is essential that City Council’s Education Committee be engaged during the search for a new superintendent to ensure transparency and equity throughout the process.
“The District can no longer afford to treat our students, families, and school staff as if they are expendable. Committing to an inclusive superintendent search is the first step in rebuilding the trust that has been so badly broken over the past weeks, months, and years. As someone who entered education activism fighting for my daughter’s school, Edward T. Steel, to remain open and public, I know firsthand what it feels like to be underestimated, undervalued, and underappreciated by the District. Now is the time for caregivers, school staff, and community members to come together to envision and demand equitable, accountable, and transparent District leadership that will deliver to our city’s young people the safe, supportive learning conditions they need and deserve.”