Philly's school board spends millions to hire nonprofit to coach teachers on literacy

Mike DeNardo
January 20, 2019 - 4:00 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia's school board has approved a hefty contract with a nonprofit to coach teachers.  

The $17 million contract with the Children's Literacy Initiative would provide literacy coaches for kindergarten through fifth grade teachers. Several speakers at the board meeting objected to the contract, criticizing its value and the experience of some coaches. Rosa Fogarty, a second grade teacher at John Hancock Elementary, read a letter from her colleague, first grade teacher Sandra Vaughan.
"I am certainly not stating that all educators do not have something to learn. We all do," Fogarty read. "However, CLI is not providing any new innovative techniques."
Board member Mallory Fix-Lopez questioned the $17 million cost of the contract.
"Is the gain that we're getting worth the money that we're putting into it?"
Board member Christopher McGinley said the program gives educators a way to talk about effective reading instruction across all elementary schools.
"I am not a huge fan of large contracts with outside consultants," McGinley said. "But I am supportive of this initiative and this contract for one more year."
The contract was approved by a 7-0 vote, with board members saying they planned to monitor the effectiveness of the program.