This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Sixteen years ago, Pennsylvania’s leaders did something dramatic and unprecedented.
They dismantled Philadelphia’s local school board and replaced it with the School Reform Commission — a five-member panel made up of three gubernatorial appointees and two mayoral appointees.
This wasn’t just any governance shake-up. It was a bet that state government could and should help fix struggling school districts.
The SRC voted to disband last week, and Philly’s mayoral-appointed local school board is expected to be back in power in July.
The news prompted speeches and celebrations in Philadelphia, particularly among those who see the SRC as a hostile intrusion on local control.
In Harrisburg, however, there’s barely been a blip.