It's not everyday that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issues a statement in response to a district meltdown—but he just did in the case of Philadelphia.
His statement, urging district, city, and state leaders to fix the financial mess and directing his department to offer technical assistance, comes after a June 28 letter in which AFT President Randi Weingarten and historian Diane Ravitch joined forces to urge him to intervene.
Here's the full text of his statement:
There's no excuse for a public school system anywhere in the U.S. to be in this situation in the 21st century, and it's even worse to see it in Philadelphia, the cornerstone of this great country and the cradle for our founding principles. I strongly urge everyone involved to continue working together to avert this educational crisis. My continued outreach to each of the parties involved: Governor Corbett, Mayor Nutter, Dr. Hite and Jerry Jordan assures me that fixing this is their number one priority. I've instructed my staff to provide any needed technical assistance to both the district and the commonwealth. The bottom line is that doing what's right for Philadelphia students will not only benefit the city - but the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the country. Philadelphia's children didn't create these problems or ask for them - our responsibility as adults is to do everything we can to provide students in Philadelphia the world class education they deserve. Without courage and leadership, I worry greatly that Philadelphia's children will be shortchanged. We must invest in public education, not abandon it.