Former School Reform Commission Member Takes Job Lobbying Old Colleagues

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former member of Philadelphia’s school reform commission will take over running a group that lobbies for charter schools.

Some public school advocates are taking a dim view.

Silvia Simms gained notoriety for an incident in 2014, when, as an SRC member, she told protesting students they probably attended failing schools.

She also faced criticism after she voted to turn a public elementary school over to a charter company for whom her sister worked. She’s now taking the helm at an advocacy group her sister often represented in public, “Educational Opportunities for Families.”

City councilwoman Helen Gym says she doesn’t think a former SRC member should be lobbying the SRC within months of her departure, and says other public bodies have rules about such things.

“The SRC has avoided ethics guidelines and it’s far past time to start instating some,” Gym said.

The announcement from EOF says Simms will soon unveil a parent-led effort to improve schools.

More from Pat Loeb

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