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New SRC Appointments

This news update is from OnBlast, PSU’s student-produced radio show.

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission, or SRC, was established during the 2001 state takeover of the Philadelphia School District, to replace the Board of Education. It has five members – three appointed by the governor and two appointed by the mayor. This January, the terms of four of the five members expired. Since then, Governor Rendell and Mayor Nutter have been looking for replacements.

Denise McGregor Armbrister is the one member whose term did not expire. Also, Heidi Ramirez was reappointed by Rendell. The three remaining commissioners were replaced. The new commissioners are: Robert Archie, Joseph Dworetzky, and Johnny Irizarry.

Robert L. Archie, Jr., was appointed by Mayor Nutter. He will be the new Chairman of the SRC. He is a West Philadelphia High School graduate, and former math teacher. He is a partner at the law firm Duane Morris. He is also on the board of both Lincoln University and Universal Institute Charter School, a Pre-K to 8th grade school founded by music producer Kenny Gamble. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, since 2005, he has also donated $17,300 to the campaigns of Dwight Evans, who is a strong proponent of charter schools.

Joseph Dworetzky was appointed by Governor Rendell. He was the Philadelphia city solicitor when Rendell was mayor. He is also a partner at the law firm Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin.

Johnny Irizarry was appointed by Mayor Nutter. He grew up in East Harlem. He has worked as a Program Specialist for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies for the school district. He is also has connections to two charter schools serving mostly Latino communities. He is also the Director of the Center for Hispanic Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rendell said it is important to get the business community involved, which is reflected in the choice of two lawyers. As far as getting the business community involved, this can leave us to wonder about how this will affect district policy on giving the management of struggling schools to private companies.

Also, the process for selecting the new SRC members was done mostly behind closed doors. The process has not been transparent. The selection of the new members seems based mostly on what the mayor and governor wanted, and not necessarily what the community wants.

To hear this update, and more from our radio show, visit, or listen from 2 to 3pm on Sundays on 88.1FM WPEB.

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