Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has followed up his first blundering month in office with something a bit different … Putting a stop to all forms of disagreement from within the Executive Branch of State Government!
Of course, when this happens you must have that first sacrificial lamb; and that lamb was the unfortunate, now former Chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, Bill Green.
Green was quickly and unceremoniously dumped from the chairmanship last week by Tom Wolf, The Terrible for crimes against the State, Education, and children of all ages.
His crime? Disagreeing with Tom The Terrible (aka Triple T) on charter school applications in the Philadelphia School District!
You see, Triple T wanted the SRC to deny completely any and all applications for new charter schools in the beleaguered Philadelphia School District (PSD) for which the SRC has maintained oversight since December 2001. The SRC resulted from frequent turmoil over school funding and poor performance, finally provoking the State to take over the schools.
Over the years, the situation became so bad in the school district that parents clamored for choices and a way to ensure quality educations for their children. Part of the answer became privately run charter schools.
From the School Reform Commission website:
Charter Schools are independently operated public schools that are funded with federal, state and local tax dollars. These schools are established to provide families with more educational alternatives for their children. Charters are non-profit, non sectarian, organizations that are approved by the local Board of Education (the “authorizer”) or the State Appeal Board. Each charter has its own Board of Trustees and administrative staff and operates as a separate, independent local educational agency (LEA) within Intermediate Unit 26 (IU 26). The Pennsylvania Charter School Law – Act 22 of 1997 – set up charters to operate free of many of the local and state requirements that apply to traditional public schools.
The problem for the PSD is that the district – any school district, since charter schools are found throughout the state – must apportion any funding it receives to any charter school that enrolls district students.
Disagreement abounds about exactly what that cost is. Current requirements state that a charter must be funded to $2000. per child enrolled. The PSD asserts that the cost to the District is closer to $7000., but support for the figure is questionable. Currently, the PSD faces an $80 million funding shortfall.
All this led to Triple T insisting that the SRC not approve ANY new charter school applications, despite parent pleas for more choices from even more charters, so long as they were properly overseen and provided quality education opportunities.
In February, faced with 39 applications for new charter schools, the SRC approved 5.
Yes, that’s right … just 5!
Many were disappointed in the SRC’s conservative approach. Many expected 21 of 39 approvals. Some were pushing for all 39! The SRC approved 5.
No one was happy. Not the Parents, not the State Legislature, not the school district.
Apparently Triple T was apoplectic! So, just days later Triple T swung his mighty claymore and dislodged the Head of the SRC.
Of course, the demoted – though yet to be completely vanquished – Bill Green should have seen this coming for miles from across the moor. He should have seen Triple T’s armies amassed in the foggy distance. Mighty steeds puffing hot breath in the cold, damp morning air. A vista of cold steel held aloft by the minion army gathering and peering towards his vulnerable redoubt.
Or he could have just asked Eric Arneson, vanquished appointee to the Office of Open Records!
Those minions off in the distance? Nothing more frightening than the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers!
You see, Triple T’s power – as a Democrat – rises and falls with the fortunes of public unions. This is why Pennsylvanians will not see much-needed initiatives to quell the Public Pension problem from Triple T, nor changes to the anachronistic system of State Stores in the distribution of liquor products. But you will see plenty of tax increases to keep the minions happy, their horses mobile!
Triple T needs them! He needs them badly! And he will behave badly if it means keeping the minions in truncheons.
Perhaps the darkest visage however, delivered by that terrible swift Triple T sword, is that our state employees, managers, directors and commission members have now gotten the message. Don’t cross the boss …
Not even when you are certain he is wrong … No matter how much experience, expertise, and value you bring to your job. Don’t even suggest that your boss, Tom the Terrible, might be wrong.
You may just lose your head!
This guy certainly has had a very busy first few weeks. He is quickly shedding the faux populist mask that vaulted him into power and revealing who he really is – no friend of the taxpayer, or the student, that’s for sure. This latest move in particular is just another form of tyranny.
One would think a liberal “captain of industry” would be a bit more accepting of diverse opinion. The Green incident is much more alarming than anything else he’s done so far.
Not really a fan of Tom Wolf, but wouldn’t going against anyone’s Boss be cause for dismissal? Piss off the Boss in most any workplace or organization and it wouldn’t be a far stretch to think a dismissal would be coming. PSD is so screwed at this point either way, without a total gut of that entire system I’m not sure it can be fixed with the tools in place their at the moment.
It’s one thing to work directly against your boss over a period of time. It’s another altogether to do one thing or think one thing he disagrees with and then get demoted or fired for it.
How does that encourage the healthy exchange of ideas? Maybe Wolf is only comfortable with “Yes men” around him.
Green was hired to do a job according to law and regulations. He stayed within those parameters and was attempting to avail the education system to the tools in his box. It seems Wolf wants it his way rather than the best way. He wants to maintain his support from the Federation as so needed to remove Green as an obstacle to that goal.
Not only that … Green gave up his seat on Philadelphia’s City Council to take the post when it was offered to him.
The Revolution 2.0 just keeps on brewing back there in the birthplace of American Ideals. I’ve read snippets of his thoughts on gun control as well. Beware Pennsyvanians, this guy isn’t a friend of liberty or personal responsibility.
I left the state 2.5 years ago for the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, so I have to deal with Scott Walker. This is another one to watch with caution.
One is too far left, the other too far right. Both have the potential to be dangerous with too much power.