NYT: Do Philly Schools Face an Impossible Task?

Profile of William Hite suggests public schools are being scrapped for charters.

The New York Times has a profile today of Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite. The piece gets interesting when it gently raises the possibility that Hite, in trying to turn around Philadelphia schools, has an impossible task:

James H. Lytle, a former deputy superintendent here and now a professor of educational leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, put Dr. Hite’s chances of getting the money he wants at “close to zero” because of a lack of support from state legislators and the Republican governor, Tom Corbett, who prefer to see an increase in charter schools.

For all his personal charm and management skills, he added, Dr. Hite will probably not be able to prevail against state authorities who favor the continued creation of charter schools, which have been a significant drain on the district’s funds.

“You could make the reasonable argument that the district is being completely deconstructed outside charter schools and perhaps for-profit schools,” Mr. Lytle said.

Hite, for his part, at least sounds defiant:

“I didn’t go through the hell I went through in Year 1 to leave in Year 2, 3, 4 or 5,” he said. “The point of all that we’ve gone through in Year 1 is to ensure that the citizens of Philadelphia have the schools that they deserve; that the citizens of this city have a future set of leaders with the type of skills that they need to also run the city. That’s why I came here.”

For more on the Philly school issue, read Patrick Kerkstra’s “Philadelphia’s School Crisis: A City On The Brink” in the February issue of Philadelphia magazine.