Schoolmageddon ’13: SRC Chairman Pedro A. Ramos Set to Make “Unpopular Decisions”

Thousands of layoffs and hundreds of millions of dollars in the red later, the Philadelphia School District has started to clean up its act with an officially sanctioned School Reform Commission. Headed up by chairman Pedro A. Ramos, the SRC will lead the school district through their worst financial situation in years.

Luckily, though, based on his recent Inky Q&A, Ramos appears to be a great fit for the job. Consider, for example, his complete lack of temper:

Question: How do you restrain your temper when people are yelling at you?

Answer: There’s nothing to restrain.

Or his inside perspective on the sad state of the Philly school:

Q: You are a product of Philadelphia’s public schools. Why are they such a mess?

A: The School District’s current situation would be tough under any circumstances, but it is made much tougher by the fact that prior leadership teams at times were afraid of making unpopular decisions in a timely way. Personnel and financial matters never get better with time.

Or even still, his soft spot for education:

Q: You seem to be a glutton for punishment – your second stint running the schools and two high-profile posts in city government. Why do you do it?

A: My parents came from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia in 1951. Dad had a second-grade education; my mother had a sixth-grade education. We lived in public housing. We benefited from food stamps. I was the youngest of five, so the only real capital my parents had to give me were values, work ethic, and insistence that I put education first.

And while that’s all well and good, the Inky isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions:

Q: Favorite Latino restaurants and menu item?

A: Tierra Colombiana [4535 N. Fifth St.] – Churrasco Argentino, it’s a steak. Porky’s Point at Fifth and Pike – Pernil, pork.

A love for pork and education. This guy’s going to do great. []