In a move that probably shocked a lot of people, School Reform Commission Chair Pedro Ramos stepped down on Monday.
According to initial reports, he stepped down due to a personal crisis in his family. He had also missed the Commission’s most-recent meetings to deal with said crisis.
Ramos was the last President of the School District of Philadelphia’s school board before it was dismantled and replaced with the SRC when the district was taken over by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Right now, people are speculating about what comes next. Will Gov. Tom Corbett bring in one of his cronies and continue to dismantle the School District so it’s easier to privatize? Or can we hope that this latest resignation serves as the death knell for this takeover?
If you’ve read this column more than once and have seen me write about ballooning deficits, Superintendent shenanigans, cuts that make no sense at all and other stuff that strikes many of us as stupid, you’ve probably figured out something the Commonwealth doesn’t want to admit.
The School District is so NOT better off after more than 10 years of the School Reform Commission, it’s ridiculous. The deficits are way up there. Schools have been shuttered. Quality of education has gone down.
And the $45 million Gov. Corbett was shamed into giving the district due to the death of a child via an asthma attack at a school impacted by cuts in school nurses, probably won’t take the district through the rest of the year.
(Commonwealth officials say the two events are not connected. I say you can get more with a kind word and the picture of a dead child on the front page of the Philadelphia Daily News than you can with just a kind word….)
So it might be time for folks to make their voices heard … and heard really loud on this topic. Because I don’t know how many more opportunities you’re going to get.