Improving Philadelphia schools requires an end to business as usual, says Superintendent Tony Watlington

5-year plan includes pilot for year-round school, curriculum overhaul, and extra pay for hard-to-staff schools
Accelerate Philly
Accelerate Philly Photo credit Mike Denardo/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Superintendent Tony Watlington says Philadelphia schools can’t improve academic achievement if they keep doing things the same way. So his long-term plan calls for a $70 million investment in changing the reading, math and eventually the science curricula.

“We will not change the fact that third-grade reading has been flat for a decade if we don’t do something different,” he said.

Watlington’s plan would also pay teachers more to work in traditionally hard-to-staff schools.

“I think we have to borrow some of what works in the private sector, in public education.”

Read a summary of the plan

It also includes a much-discussed pilot of year-round classes at up to ten schools. Philly has tried this before, more than 20 years ago. Watlington said this time will be different.

“I can tell you that we’re committed to doing this well. And I absolutely am committed to the year-round school model making a difference in terms of bottom-line academic achievement.”

Watlington says his proposal aims high, calling it a “Cadillac” plan.

What the plan doesn’t include is a price tag, although Watlington says it will require additional funding. The school board holds a special meeting next Thursday to vote on it.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Mike Denardo/KYW Newsradio