Lisa Haver, a public school activist in Philadelphia, describes the deliberate process of destroying her city’s public schools. The superintendent, William Hite, is doing what Broad Academy graduates do: closing public schools without heeding the views of parents or communities.

It is one of the saddest stories about the hoax of “reform” that you are likely to read. If closing schools is the same as “reform,” then we have surely fallen down the rabbit-hole into a world where words mean nothing or mean the opposite.
It appears, though, that disruption and failure are not a deterrent to repeating mistakes in the School District of Philadelphia. Superintendent William Hite unveiled a plan earlier this month to reform 15 district schools at an estimated cost of $15 million to $20 million. Some will be part of the Hite-created Transformation Program, in which curricular and personnel changes, including forcing out the entire faculty, can be imposed with no public hearings or vote by the SRC. Others will be placed into the Renaissance Network, which is the administration’s way of giving up on a school it has done little to improve and kicking it to the curb for a private company to pick up. Some will have several grades added at once, as Roosevelt did, changing its mission and climate overnight. Contrary to promises made by Hite at public meetings, two schools will be closed permanently. Enrollment and class size in nearby schools will almost certainly increase.
The hurried approval process will give parents little chance to have any say in the future of their children’s schools. Teachers and staff have been shut out of the process altogether, even though many will be forced out of schools whose communities they have been part of for years. But since the decisions about which schools will be overhauled, and how, have already been made at the top, what purpose do these meetings serve other than window-dressing – until the inevitable rubber-stamping by the SRC?

There is a reason for the adjective “public” that comes before “schools.” The schools belong to the public, not to Eli Broad, Bill Gates, or the current superintendent. Philadelphia needs a leader to save its schools, not to close them down.