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Greens Call Knudsen Plan a "Recipe for Disaster" for Philly Schools
GREEN PARTY OF PHILADELPHIA
FOR RELEASE June 25, 2012
215-843-4256 and firstname.lastname@example.org
"Grow up and deal with it," said Mayor Michael Nutter to those who don't like Thomas Knudsen's School Transformation Plan. Knudsen, the chief recovery officer for Philadelphia's School Reform Commission, recently proposed to close up to 40 schools by 2013, and another 24 within five years. Knudsen has proven credentials as a cost-cutter, most recently as chief executive of the Philadelphia Gas Works, but no experience in education.
Members of the Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP, www.gpop.org) believe the Knudsen Plan is a recipe for disaster and call upon Nutter to withdraw his support for the proposal.
The Mayor seems to believe that the end of public education in Philadelphia is a done deal -- a political reality that no one can change. Certainly he has reasons to be pessimistic. Our country's economy is hurting. The federal government is under pressure to spend less on education, to cut costs everywhere. Even as they approve astronomical sums for foreign wars, the leaders of the two corporate parties insist that there is no money to spend at home, that they need to choke off big government by privatizing government services.
The GPOP City Committee disagrees with the idea that our nation should spend less on education and more on war. Rather, the Greens believe that the federal government should cut spending on foreign wars, and improve essential services in this country.
The seven-member GPOP City Committee has disagreed with the Mayor's decision to support further school closures and privatization. Chris Robinson, a GPOP City Committee member from Germantown, said "Nutter should know that public education is a public responsibility. All relevant decisions about our children's education must be made by community stakeholders and their representatives."
Green Party Chair Vivek Ananthan from Northern Liberties said, "I urge the mayor to seize the opportunity presented by this crisis. We need a return of local control over Philadelphia's schools and better funding for the education of our children."
Philadelphia is the only county in Pennsylvania that does not have an elected school board. In 2001, the state removed Philadelphia schools from local control, placing them in the hands of the Orwellian-named School Reform Commission.
Philadelphia's schools are also handicapped by the state's inequitable funding system, which awards more money for the education of wealthy students and much less money for the education of poor students. Per student, Philadelphia schools have less than half to spend than do schools in some neighboring districts. Nationwide, Pennsylvania is among the stingiest in its support of public schools. Almost every other state contributes a higher proportion of public education costs.
The GPOP City Committee calls for a ban on school closures and further privatization of Philadelphia schools until the decision-making process can be restored to the control of local stakeholders. It is the responsibility of the mayor and other local officials to press state legislators and the governor to restore local control to Philadelphia schools, and to establish an equitable funding system for public education throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"The Green Party Proposal for Philadelphia's Public Schools" can be found at http://www.gpop.org/news/?p=1017. The Green Party is an independent political party which stands for ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence. For more information about the GPOP, please contact 215-243-7103 and email@example.com.
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