The History of the State Take Over of the School District of Philadelphia

1997 – Lawsuit filed by the School District of Philadelphia and community leaders contending that Pennsylvania did not provide thorough and efficient funding for its schools. The lawsuit was dismissed.

1998 – A Civil Rights lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court by the School District of Philadelphia, the city of Philadelphia and other parties charging that the state of Pennsylvania‘s funding practices discriminated against school districts with large numbers of non-white students.

February 1998 – Superintendent David Hornbeck threatened to close Philadelphia schools if the state did not provide funds to balance the school district’s proposed budget.

April 21, 1998- The Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 46. (Representative Dwight Evans was the architect of the bill and also the chair of the House Appropriations Committee.)

ACT 46 – Established a School Reform Commission (SRC) to manage the School District of Philadelphia. The SRC would hire a CEO. It would establish a Reform Plan. The SRC would have the power to reconstitute troubled schools by reassigning or firing staff, hiring for-profit education management firms to run some schools, converting some schools to charter schools, hiring non-certified staff and reallocating and redistributing school district resources. The bill was sponsored by Dwight Evans and Anthony Williams.

June 2000 – Superintendent Hornbeck resigns, unable to find a solution to the fiscal and academic crisis. Hornbeck launches a statewide advocacy organization, Good Schools PA.

2001 - The Coalition to Keep Our Public Schools Public filed a lawsuit to stop the state from signing a contract with Edison Schools Inc. to manage the School District of Philadelphia.

2001 – The Philadelphia Student Union organized protests and acts of civil disobedience to stop the state from hiring Edison Schools Inc. Community groups, parents and PFT members participated in these protests.

2001 - Mayor John Street negotiated with Governor Tom Ridge and then when he left to head Homeland Security, Governor Mark Schweiker, for a “friendlier” state takeover.  The city agreed to withdraw the federal lawsuit, which was scheduled to be heard and the mayor would be able to appoint 2 members of the School Reform Commission (SRC). The city would also have a say in patronage jobs and contracts.

December 21, 2001 – The School Reform Commission (SRC) takes over the management of the school district.


Also see

"Takeover by the State" on the Wikipedia's post for the School District of Philadelphia.

Corporate Education Reform and Civil Rights | Defend Public Education - December 16, 2016



On the website of the Black Alliance for Education Opitions, it says this:

In Pennsylvania, the support and leadership of BAEO board members Representative Dwight Evans and Senator Anthony Williams were crucial to the creation, protection, and expansion of the tax credit and charter programs. They were also instrumental in passing the law that led to the state takeover of the School District of Philadelphia, which has led to an increase in quality educational options for poor families. 

The Black Alliance for Education Options was founded by Howard Fuller, former civil rights activist tuned George Bush conservative.

According to Source Watch, BAEO is an organization dedicated to the eradication of public schools. Funders have included the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Institute for the Transformation of Learning, and the Walton Family Foundation.

In 2010 Anthony Williams ran for Governor of Pennsylvania. His campaign ran on $5 million from hedge fund managers and wealthy “philanthropists”.

Senator Williams ran for Mayor of Philadelphia in the May, 2015 primary. He spoke to the website Change the Game on August 30, 2014 about his anti-public school, anti-union, “choice” agenda.

State Senator Anthony Williams Discusses School Choice with Bob Bowden

The interviewer, Bob Bowden, is a right-wing libertarian as can be seen from this interview on Reason TV on August 17, 2011.

Bob Bowdon: What's Next for School Choice - and New Media 

Bob Bowden's ideiology has it's roots in the privatization theories of Milton Friedman.

Bob Bowden has been organizing a right-wing movement in Philadelphia to promote charter schools and attack the teacher’s union. His Philadelphia website is PhillySchoolChoice.com.

Philadelphia Schools Face Takeover
Heartland Institute - June 1, 1998
Dwight Evans in this article on Hornbecks threat to close Philadelphia schools if the state did not meet its Constitutional mandate:

"Holding students and their parents and teachers hostage in an effort to gain additional funding is certainly bold but not very wise," commented Representative Dwight Evans, Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee and prime architect of the takeover bill. "It is counter-productive and hurts everyone involved, especially the children," he added. 
and "I do not want to take over the Philadelphia School District," said Representative Evans, but he noted the District had become "adult-centered" instead of "child-centered." Declaring that simply spending more money would not spark the kind of excellence the city's students deserve, Evans said "We must take positive steps to make things better for the 215,000 school children of Philadelphia."

Isn't this the same refrain that comes from ALEC legislators in Harrisburg and Philadelphia School Partnership Executive Director Mark Gleason? 
Note: The Hearland Institute is a right-wing think tank with ties to the Koch brothers. 
Sourcewatch| Heartland Institute 

Update on BAEO and the 2016 Presidential election

Trump Selects Two People for his education transition team
deutsch29 - September 19, 2016
Gerard Robinson, who was head of BAEO for several years, has jointed the Trump campaign.

School choice tops Trump's education agenda
AL.com - November 10, 2016
Trump picked Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to be on his presidential transition team for education, according to multiple sources....Robinson served as Florida's education commissioner from 2011 to 2012, and has also served as Virginia's education secretary and as the president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options."
DeVos family – super-wealthy right-wingers working with the religious right to destroy public education
Alternet - November 24, 2016
A look at Betsy DeVos as a leader in corporate education reform - including her relationship with the Black Alliance for Educational Options 
Black Alliance for Educational Options Congratulates Betsy DeVos on Nomination for Education
BAEO - November, 2016  


Also see: 

Pennsylvania's Act 46: Aimed At Improving Education or Punishing Educators
Scholarship Law/University of Pennsylvania/2003 

Community Voice or Captive of the Right? The Black Alliance for Educational Options
People for the American Way - July 2003
Be sure to read pages 5 and 6 to see the ideiology of funders of BAEO. 

Teachers, this time let's have the rebellion
Martin McGriff @ Philadelphia Daily News - October 22, 2014

Racial bias evident in Pa. funding system, analysis shows
Philadelphia Public School Notebook - November 6, 2014 

Hite and others see racial disparities in funding as alarming
Philadelpia Public School Notebook - September 7th, 2014
(Read the comments.)

How to Destroy a Public-School System
Daniel Denvir in The Nation - October 13, 2014  

GOP bill would make failing public schools charters
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - January 7, 2015
ALEC and BAEO at work. 

Blackstone Group's Stephen Schwarman says more money won't improve public education
International Business Times - January 23, 2015
There is nothing original about Mark Gleason's contention that lack of funding for public schools doesn't matter. 

Williams' backers invest $250K in independent effort
Philadelphia Newsworks - February 2, 2015  

PACs with charter school ties enter mayoral race fray
Philadelphia Inquirer - February 4, 2015
Philadelphia Inquirer - February 4, 2015
Who should new charters serve? Critics and hopefuls make their cases
Philadelphia Public School Notebook - February 4, 2015
The proposed new charters will increase class segregation of education in Philadelphia.
School district questions math of pro-charter group
Philadelphia Inquirer - February 5, 2015
More and more people on catching on to the Philadelphia School Partnership's pseudoscientific methods. 
School district defends director's prominent political role
Philadelphia Daily News - February 8, 2015
The Philadelphia School District sees no conflict of interest in one of its officials being paid to be government affairs director and lobby for corporate ed interests at the same time. 
Dave Davies off mic: PSP-related political committee gives to Williams' campaign.
Philadelphia Public School Notebook - Februrary 9, 2014 

SRC feels heat for adding five charters
Philadelphia Inquirer - February 20, 2015 
Turned down charter providers can make case before state appeals board
February 20, 2015

Charter schools do not equal education reform

Column by David Hornbeck - Baltimore Sun - February 27, 2015
Former Philadelphia Superintendent David Hornbeck.
"As Philadelphia's Superintendent of Schools, I recommended the approval of more than 30 charter schools because I thought it would improve educational opportunity for our 215,000 students. The last 20 years make it clear I was wrong."

Divide and Conquer: The Philadelphia Story

Mary 4, 2015 

Common Sense in Philadelphia
Defend Public Education - May 21, 2015 
The Seige of Philadelphia Public Schools is Now a Full-Scale Assault
Defend Public Education - December 13, 2015

Proposed changes to Pa. law would squander higher school funding
The Notebook - January 20, 2016
Michael Churchill is an attorney at the Public Interest Law Center.
Deborah Gordon Klehr is executive director of the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania.
Susan Spicka is an advocacy coordinator for Education Voters PA.

This change to the PA School Code would single out Philadelphia for the two-tier school system proposed by SRC member Bill Green and deepen the state takeover of Philadelphia schools. 
PA: More Charter Christmas
Curmudgucation - July 4, 2016
PA ALEC legislators finally reveal their end game. 


Super PACs and school reform
The Notebook - December 19, 2016
Some history about Betsy DeVos's involvement with promoting corporate ed reform in Pennsylvania (with Anthony Williams being an egar accomplice.

Black Alliance for Educational Options is closing

Diane Ravitch's blog -  October 29, 2017

Fuller calls BAEO's collapse, 'a magical moment'. Really? 
Schooling in the Ownership Society - October 31, 2017