People often ask what can be done to slow down the galloping pace of privatization, which has the enthusiastic support of so many Republican governors and legislatures (see Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee, Louisiana), the Obama administration (see Race to the Top), and wealthy foundations (see Gates, Walton, Broad).

Philadelphia parents are not sitting back and wailing against the proposed privatization. They have lodged ethics complaints against the city’s largest foundation and the Boston Consulting Group for being unregistered lobbyists.

This is a letter from parent leader Helen Gym explaining why parents acted:

Dear Colleagues:

This week, Parents United for Public Education, the Philadelphia Home and School Council and the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP filed a complaint with the City ethics board that the activities of the Boston Consulting Group and the William Penn Foundation should constitute lobbying under the city’s new lobbying ordinance. We believe it is the first real test of the lobbying law which went into effect in January and was designed to prevent secretive attempts to influence policy, including the School District of Philadelphia.

We did not make this decision easily or hastily. We requested a thorough legal analysis from the venerable Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. We arrived at this decision after months of observation and study around the murky activities of the Boston Consulting Group and the wealthy donors who funded them. Just a week before the Philadelphia School District is expected to announce dozens of school closings which will throw our city into turmoil, we believe the public deserves to know the full influence of private money and access on decisions that impact us all.

Please read and share our post: “The public deserves to know what’s happening here” at Parents United’s new website:

As always, I would love your feedback, critiques, suggestions and shares.



Helen Gym
Parents United for Public Education

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