Leaders call for tough but necessary actions

We wanted to be sure you caught the opinion piece in yesterday’s Inquirer. Three prominent Philadelphians – leaders in business, youth development, and philanthropy – made the case for broad-based civic and political support for tough but necessary actions to solve the School District of Philadelphia’s academic and financial challenges through Superintendent Bill Hite’s new plan.

We could not agree more with their take: Read the op-ed by John K. Binswanger, chairman of Binswanger, Natalye Paquin, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, and Helen Cunningham, executive director of the Samuel S. Fels Fund.

There’s no doubt about it; as they explain, “Closing schools is inevitably painful for some communities and families, and it is not a step that should be taken lightly. But neither is allowing many of those schools to fail their students as they are. On average, only about 30 percent of the students in the schools on the closing list are performing at grade level in reading and math. We can do better, and this plan gives us a real opportunity to improve educational results for those children.”

At PSP, we will be working in partnership with nonprofits, businesses, and civic and philanthropic leaders across the city to ease the transition for students and families and improve the quality of their educational opportunities. There’s real potential in Dr. Hite’s plan, but to successfully implement it, we must continue to build momentum in support of the difficult but necessary changes to the school district.

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