Reporting Jenn Bernstein
By Jenn Bernstein
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of Philadelphia Housing Authority residents were upset Wednesday when they showed up for their normally scheduled GED class at the John F. Street Community Center in North Philadelphia, only to learn it was canceled, and will now be held in South Philadelphia.
The free program is provided through the PHA and run by the Center for Literacy. A representative from PHA showed up to tell the residents, the organization would now use its own teachers at a new location in South Philadelphia, and that the Center for Literacy would no longer be involved.
“I have a prosthetic leg, now they want me to catch four buses,” said student Anthony Graham, “I am barely making it here.”
Greg Brinkley, another resident, said “people are doing well, people are literally doing well. And now you come in here and disturb the program? Why?”
PHA’s spokeswoman Nichole Tillman said after evaluating the contract with the Center for Literacy, PHA decided to not renew it, saying the program was not performing how they’d hoped.
“PHA’s programs are outcome driven,” said Tillman. “This particular program, the contract says they should graduate 100 students in 2012. Unfortunately they only graduated two.”
The Center for Literacy’s JoAnn Weinberger said that number is inaccurate, and that PHA is not understanding the contract. She says it states the program needs 100 participants with 60 completing one of five GED exams, not all receiving a GED diploma. Either way, she said PHA is mishandling the situation by only giving the Center for Literacy two days notice. Weinberger feels it’s at the expense of the students.
“So here we are almost at the end of January, disrupting what is happening with PHA residents,” said Weinberger. “I find that very unfortunate.”
Tillman said the PHA apologized to its residents for the inconvenience, and that the residents are their number one priority. Tillman said they would reach out to the residents, before the new class begins Monday.