Report: Politics in school choice

Former School Reform Commission Chairman Robert Archie played the role of facilitator in state Rep. Dwight Evans’ efforts to steer the charter operator selection for Martin Luther King High School, according to a report released Thursday by the city’s chief integrity officer.

The fact-finding report was commissioned by Mayor Michael Nutter based on published reports that backroom politics caused Mosaica Turnaround Partners to back out of operating the school on March 17, the day after it was unanimously selected by the SRC. It concludes that Evans, who represents part of Northwest Philadelphia near MLK, strongly pressured Philadelphia School District officials to select Foundations Inc. as the operator, with help from Archie.

Archie, who resigned this week, arranged private meetings between Evans and former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and the SRC; but both rebuffed Evans’ requests, the report says.

Evans declined an interview for the report, but issued a statement Thursday saying, “In public and in private meetings, I made clear my intent to make Martin Luther King Jr. High School the best in the nation.”

Archie did not return calls for comment.

More from our Sister Sites