Call me old-fashioned but it's amazing how permanently bereft of common sense some folks can be when they're temporarily at a loss for ideas. I don't like working in a climate of chaos where teaching jobs are becoming rarified. So instead of interminably taxing and spending for the future, consider some ideas of the past:

1. Audit the books forensically, retroactive 7 years. The people who created this mess should be held to account. While politically incorrect in most progressive circles, accountability and following the rules make for good government.

2. Collect what's owed in delinquent property taxes and use the proceeds to build a financial reserve. The interest could be used to gradually pay down existing debt over time, namely $300M the district borrowed to cover operations last fiscal year. Funding is merely an artifact of the much more intractable problem of poor management. Saving and operating within one's means are essential.

3. Amend IDEA such that rules can be enforced fairly and consistently. Teachers made a career decision to educate children. They did not choose to be abused either by the children or by administration. Children are entitled to an education but they are not entitled to disrupt the process and ruin it for everyone else. Those who chronically behave poorly should be relocated to disciplinary schools with more alacrity.

4. Dissolve the S.R.C. and return control of the schools to a democratically elected school board. Business as usual simply ain't workin'.

5. Close all but perhaps 5 of the charters. Many have proven wasteful and subject to fraud. They must be rigorously overseen. Moreover, there is no indication suggesting that they are better than their conventional counterparts.

Philadelphia once had great schools. They can be so again once the people in charge wise up.

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