This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Before being nominated by Gov. Corbett to chair the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, City Councilman Bill Green released two policy papers outlining his views for how to "repair public education."
In them, he envisioned a "recovery school district" model (similar to what’s now in place in Louisiana) that, in effect, would create two distinct landscapes of public education in Philadelphia.
One landscape would include the District’s well-performing schools, and the other would comprise the district’s "failing" schools.
The former would be managed by a local school board appointed by the mayor; the latter would be managed by an intensive turnaround team overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
In comparing his proposal to Louisiana’s recovery school district model, Green championed the idea of allowing a large portion of the Philadelphia School District to be "managed through nontraditional means, such as charter operators or private managers."
Since those papers were released, Green said his views have evolved. He now believes that positive change can occur by keeping schools under the management of the Philadelphia School District.
So what changed his mind?
In no small part, M. Night Shyamalan.