Reporting Mike DeNardo
By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After four months of fact-gathering, Superintendent William Hite presented his action plan on Monday to improve Philadelphia schools. His plan has two goals: improving academics and stabilizing finances.
Superintendent Hite says his academic targets include boosting the 57 percent high school graduation rate, and increasing the average SAT score to 1550 from 1100 now.
Hite’s plan includes a more structured curriculum framework for struggling schools.
“These are not scripted types of lessons. But they’re frameworks nonetheless. However, the lower a school performs, the more scripted the guidance that they will receive.”
It also includes better training for teachers.
Hite says closing 37 underutilized schools is part of his plan to improve academics.
“We can’t do that when we’re maintaining 53,000 empty seats. And so those are resources that should be redirected to providing art for every student or music for every student.”
Financially, Hite plans new controls and he says the district has to stop budgeting on the hope for more money.
“It’s not to say we don’t advocate or we don’t wish for, or we don’t go to Harrisburg and ask for more significant funding. The truth of the matter is, I mean that’s been happening for a few years now, and we’ve seen how well that’s worked.”
And he wants to restore help for principals as they draw-up individual school budgets.
“Because of layoffs in the past, we have eliminated many of the individuals who provided support to schools, who audited school-based accounts, who trained in record-keeping. So that’s a part of our organization that we must rebuild.”