“Marjorie Neff and Feather Houstoun have worked admirably on behalf of our children. I thank them for their years of dedicated public service on the School Reform Commission.
It’s time for a fresh start. Philadelphia wants what every other one of Pennsylvania’s 499 school districts has: local control of our schools.
Short of meeting this fundamental goal, we need a group of responsible and responsive leaders who will uphold the public trust, reflect the diverse voices of public school communities, and establish a clear equity agenda for a school district that Harrisburg has neglected for far too long.
As Commissioners Neff and Houstoun move on, we must recognize that the SRC they leave behind is deeply flawed. None of the remaining commissioners was appointed by the current mayor or governor. They have been roundly critiqued for operating without transparency and they have failed to uphold the District’s central responsibility to provide essential staffing and resources. Like their fellow state-takeover agency, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, the SRC too often operates in an opaque bubble, sealed off from public accountability.
We must start over. The remaining SRC commissioners should step down and open the door to a renewed focus on the revitalization of our public school system and a heightened level of accountability to the people of Philadelphia.”
Helen Gym was sworn in as an At-Large Member of Council 2016. Her primary concerns include addressing widespread poverty in Philadelphia, particularly through an emphasis on building a quality public education system. For more information, visit phlcouncil.com/HelenGym.