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Questionable application processes at Green Woods, other charter schools

By thenotebook on Sep 14, 2012 05:22 PM
Photo: Kimberly Paynter for NewsWorks

Entrance to Green Woods Charter Lower School

By Benjamin Herold
for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner

For years, parents have had to jump through astonishing hoops to apply to the popular Green Woods Charter School in Northwest Philadelphia.

Interested families couldn't find Green Woods’ application online. They couldn't request a copy in the mail. In fact, they couldn't even pick up a copy at the school.

Instead, Green Woods made its application available only one day each year. Even then, the application was only given to families who attended the school’s open house – which most recently has been held at a private golf club in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Green Woods CEO Jean Wallace declined to be interviewed. In an email, she lauded her school’s “very transparent and very collaborative working relationship” with the District’s Office of Charter Schools, which oversees Philadelphia charters.


Listen to Ben Herold's radio report
 

But this spring, that very office found that Green Woods and 17 other charters seeking renewal imposed “significant barriers to entry” on families. Some, like Green Woods, went to extraordinary lengths to limit access to applications. Others, like Eastern University Academy in East Falls, made onerous and sometimes illegal requests from applicants for everything from typed book reports to proof of U.S. citizenship.

The findings are detailed in previously unreleased district documents obtained by Pennsylvania’s Education Law Center (ELC) under the state Right to Know law. At best, said ELC senior staff attorney Jennifer Lowman, the barriers found by the district violate the spirit of Pennsylvania’s 1997 charter law, designed to give families more high-quality school options.

“Unfortunately, some of these extensive application requirements flip that choice on its head,” Lowman said. “It becomes the school that chooses, not the family.”

Charters renewed anyway

In recent months, the School Reform Commission has granted new five-year extensions to Green Woods, Eastern University Academy, and 10 other charters deemed to have “significant barriers to entry.” But spokesman Fernando Gallard said that many of those renewals came with conditions.

The District also believes that charter schools’ boards of trustees should “take immediate action” to remove identified barriers. Gallard also said the District plans to make public by late October a report summarizing the application and enrollment practices for each of the more than 80 city charter schools.

“This is groundbreaking work that has not been done before,” Gallard said. “Our position is that these are public schools. They are making a significant difference in the lives of children. And we want to make sure that is open to everyone.”

Charter schools are publicly funded but independently managed. By law, they are required to be open to all children. If there are more applicants than available seats, they are required to hold an enrollment lottery.

In Philadelphia, like many other cities, parental demand for charters has been enormous. Lowman, from the Education Law Center, says that charters should accommodate that demand by making their application processes as easy as possible. By law, said Lowman, charters should only ask applicants for four things: proof of a child’s age and residence, immunization records, and a statement as to whether the child has been expelled or suspended for certain incidents on school grounds.

The four Philadelphia charters run by KIPP, she said, offer a good example for how the process is supposed to work.

“You fill out a very simple form, and you don’t have to show up somewhere to get it. If you are accepted, you are enrolled,” Lowman said.

Beyond that, said KIPP Philadelphia CEO Marc Mannella, his schools proactively reach out to parents. In addition to making the form available online, by mail and fax at each of the schools, Manella says KIPP staffers personally distribute applications.

“We go to grocery stores, Laundromats … we will bring the applications to where you are,” he said.

Mannella stressed that charters must do what’s right for children, not just follow the law.

“If we just harvest the applications that come our way, we aren't always going to get the children who need us the most,” he said. “Once [these barriers to entry are] brought to light, I would hope that folks start to reform their practices.”

One parent’s experience

Parent Rebecca Poyourow experienced the barriers to entry at Green Woods first hand. In 2009, when Poyourow was considering sending her oldest son to kindergarten at the school, she was surprised at how “laborious” its application process was.

“There was one night that was an open house night, and that was the only time you could go and pick up an application. You couldn’t be an applicant if you couldn’t get there,” Poyourow said.

That year, the open house was held at Green Woods, which at the time was housed at the secluded Schuylkill Environmental Center in the Andorra section of the city. Poyourow, a middle-class mom from nearby Roxborough, drove past the nearest public transportation stop – then had to go roughly two more miles to the school.

“I was thinking, 'What if I didn’t have car?’” she recalled.

Given the resources and resourcefulness families needed just to obtain an application, it’s no surprise that Green Woods has one of the whitest, most affluent student bodies in the city. In 2010-11, almost 80 percent of Green Woods students were White. Just 17 percent were eligible for a free or reduced price lunch, the lowest poverty rate of any public school in the city.

Other schools determined by the District to have significant barriers to entry have similarly unrepresentative student bodies. According to the documents obtained by ELC, Laboratory Charter and Planet Abacus – both founded and operated by Dorothy June Brown, now under federal indictment on multimillion-dollar fraud charges – also mandated that their applications could only be completed at open houses.

The forms were not available in languages other than English, and applicants were asked to provide their race, eligibility for free lunch, birth certificate, baptismal certificate, and names of their parents’ employers, among other information.

According to its 2011 annual report, just three students at Planet Abacus received special education services. The report for Laboratory Charter said the number of special education students was “N/A,” or “not applicable.”

Like applying for college

Some charter applications read almost like those of private colleges. The 10-page application to Eastern University Academy Charter in East Falls requires student and parent essays, responses to several pages of short-answer questions, a typed book report, and three letters of recommendation. It has also illegally required applicants to disclose their citizenship and disability status.

“We consider that to be against the law,” said District spokesman Gallard.

Eastern principal and CEO Omar Barlow could not be reached for an interview. In an email, he wrote that the application form has been edited to remove questions about special education or discipline records. The additional information the school requests, wrote Barlow, “is designed to help the student and parent or guardian gain an understanding of the mission and philosophy of the school.”

Despite the problems with its application process, the School Reform Commission earlier this spring renewed Eastern University Academy’s charter for five years. There were conditions, however. In the future, said Gallard, the District will annually monitor its admissions policy and require that the board of trustees submit a copy of the policy and information on the process.

The District will also monitor Green Woods, which last month adopted a new admissions policy at the School District’s request. It has agreed to post applications online for at least eight weeks and give preference to students living in the catchment areas of several surrounding District schools.

And beginning next year, when Green Woods moves into a new permanent facility, the school is also supposed to host additional tours for parents.

But when a reporter called the school earlier this week, Green Woods staff said the application would only be made available at this year’s open house, again being held at a suburban country club.

Asked about this, CEO Wallace wrote in an email that the staff had not yet been updated. “The newest admissions policy was just recently approved,” she explained.

With an understaffed Office of Charter Schools, the District has long been challenged to provide effective oversight of the growing charter sector. But Gallard said on this issue of access, the District is fully committed to making sure “that all charter schools follow the state law.”

 

Comments (90)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2012 7:00 pm

No, this can't be true. Charters don't cherry pick and play fast and loose with the laws. They wouldn't do that!!!!

Submitted by Kate Sannicks-Lerner (not verified) on September 15, 2012 5:39 am

Exactly! (Hello, my name is Sarcasma TongueinCheek, and you are?)

Submitted by Jean Wallace (not verified) on August 25, 2013 12:33 pm
it’s important that Green Woods provide some important details to the Notebook readers: •Green Woods had always held its Annual Open House at the school location when it was at the Schuylkill Center. We never had more than 250-300 people attend. Just about 10 days before this scheduled Open House, over 500 people had already registered to attend. As a result, we were forced to move the Open House, in the 11th hour, as the Schuylkill Center could not legally hold the number of people wanting to attend, and the Center could not accommodate the number of parking spaces needed. •The Ace Conference Center is NOT private, but a public conference center where anyone can hold an event. The Ace Conference Center is located just 4 minutes from the school and actually allowed for even greater and easier access by SEPTA than if the Open House were held at its original location at the school. •Approximately 500 people attended the K-1 Presentation. Approximately 300 people attended the Grade 2-6 presentation. •Historically, almost all of the available seats open through the lottery were for Kindergarten. The number of open seats ranged from about 8 to 12 per year. The School District does not bus for Kindergarten. The only way to get to the school’s prior location (about 1 mile from SEPTA and ½ mile in the middle of the woods) was by driving, resulting in the overwhelming majority of families applying being from the immediate area. •People were not given special preference nor was enrollment limited. In fact, opening up to a larger venue, and as a result of this turnout, Green Woods served students from over 30 zip codes during the 2012-13 school year. •The term “barrier” to enrollment and its outlined criterion were not defined nor communicated to Green Woods until long after this event. •When this concern was raised during its second 5-year renewal, Green Woods was pleased to work with its authorizer to align its practices with the District's request. •After hosting this large event, Green Woods did expand its citywide diversity to include students from throughout the city. As a condition of renewal, however, Green Woods is now required to enroll a minimum of 75% of lottery students from its local catchment area, thus diminishing the opportunity to advance its geographic diversity. Over 1000 applications were received for September 2013 through a new online process resulting in more than 900 families currently remaining on the waiting list. •After this article was first published, Green Woods requested a meeting with the WHYY/NewsWorks editor in order to clear up any misconceptions. We did not receive a response to our request. Jean Wallace CEO Green Woods Charter School
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 25, 2013 2:23 pm
Thank you for the clarification. That said, the "waiting list" for charters - all charters - is misleading. As a parent, I applied for 9 charter schools. My child was on a "wait list" for 8 schools. So, the charter may claim my child is "waiting" but in reality, I chose the school where he "made the lottery." Once a charter holds its lottery, it should purge its lists after 6 - 9 months. The "wait list" is used to justify expanding charters even in more affluent neighborhoods like Roxborough.
Submitted by Jean Wallace (not verified) on August 25, 2013 2:30 pm
I can't speak for other charter schools, but Green Woods does purge its waiting list and holds a new lottery every year.
Submitted by Plesk (not verified) on July 18, 2014 10:44 am

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Submitted by annonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2012 7:08 pm

There are many more charters that have extensive applications and/or requirements. Look at CHAD - http://www.chadphila.org/pdf/Application2012BWnodate.pdf It is as long as Eastern Charter. Then look at Prep Charter - they require 7th grade report card, PSSA scores and first marking period 8th grade report card. http://www.theprepcharterschool.org/ApplicationForm.pdf
Next, Mastery has their "By Any Means Necessary" contract... The list is much longer.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on September 15, 2012 6:27 am

This was my experience at Lab Charter - June Brown's school - in 2004. It also had (has?) a very restrictive admission process. Parents had to attend a night meeting that was in their suburban office. The meeting was originally schedule in January. There had been snow but I went because there was no way to find out if the meeting was canceled. When my 3 children and I arrived, there was a note on the door that the meeting was canceled and we (the parents) had to reschedule. I called and went to a meeting a month later. The child(ren) had to attend the meeting which was on a school night. The children sat in another room watching a video while Brown spoke. The application(s) has to be completed at the meeting. Then, Brown meet with each parent/child(ren) and put the application in one of two boxes. I assume the one box was "acceptable" applications and the other rejects. This process took about 3 hours (6 - 9 pm). Next, if entering kindergarten, the child attends the school for 1/2 a day for testing and observation. If the child was older, s/he attended for an entire day - again, for testing and observation. Then, the parent was told whether or not the child would be entered in the lottery.

I had to attend another meeting and was told my children were in the lottery and were accepted. I was given a summer packet which was about 100 pages of worksheets. We were reminded about our responsibilities to make sure the packet was complete and about the amount of homework during the year. (I was told two hours a night). The parent was responsible to make sure all homework was completed.

I chose not to send my children to Lab Charter. I had applied to about 8 charters, and 8 district schools, and went to the meetings. Some charter meetings were informational (e.g. Wissihickon Charter, Independence Charter) but Lab Charter was different. I assumed the process was similar to what happens at a private school. Brown was very boastful of her accomplishments and rude to some parents. She reiterated many times that since they offered a "foreign language," they did not accept students who couldn't learn a second language. (I assumed she meant students with learning differences/difficulties). The other message Brown reiterated was they did not have school bus service. If a parent wanted their child to attend, the parent had to get him/her to school.

While I don' t know the current Lab Charter process, based on the number of students with an IEP at the school, I assume it didn't change. I have a friend whose children attended the school. They were slightly tardy a few times. She was told her students could no longer attend because of tardiness. She assumed it was because of test scores. They weren't scoring "high enough" on predictive tests. They were dropped a few months before the PSSA. I assume this wasn't unique to my friend.

Submitted by Kristie (not verified) on March 27, 2013 7:18 am
I am a horrible person for wishing my children could attend this type of school. I want them receiving top quality education with high achieving peers. I know it's unethical and illegal but who doesn't want the best for their child? I do think all children deserve top quality education but secretly I love my children in a class with all high performing children.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:48 am
What are "high performing children?" There is no "one size fits all" "top quality education" nor is there a prototype of a "high performing child." I want my children and students to learn how to appreciate, respect and learn with a variety of people. No, I don't want my children or students to be physically, emotionally or socially harmed but they can learn from many people - not just "high performing children" which usually is determined by test scores and a very narrow description and definition of learning.
Submitted by Kristie (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:20 am
High performing children usually come from very involved parents. Every child of normal intelligence can be high performing if the parent is active. Take for example two polar opposite middle schools....Harding and Masterman. If your child is top of the class at Masterman your child is one of the brightest nationwide. If your child is top of the class at Harding it doesn't hold the same weight. My teenage son went to Ethan Allen for K. 27 kids in that class. Him and one other boy won sight word prizes every week. 25 kids were too dumb? I don't think so. They had lazy, uninvolved parents.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 3:07 pm
We're with you there, Marie . . . and as for the rest! Let 'em eat cake!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2012 7:36 pm

The funny thing about this is that you have a City and SRC controlled by Minority people creating an system of Educational Apartheid.

Submitted by Kate Sannicks-Lerner (not verified) on September 15, 2012 5:07 am

Amen!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Harry Bailey (not verified) on September 14, 2012 8:50 pm

PDE continues to refuse to comment on a PSSA cheating investigation within the state's biggest charter, Chester Community Charter School. The school, its' owners-, (one of Gov. Corbett's largest political contributors), although it has been well over a year. Other schools on the list have been gradually cleared. CCCS is said to have "widespread" irregularities.

Potential political damage continues to hide the fact that the school cheated to make the public schools in Chester fail in comparison. We need answers from the adults. Some charters, including CCCS, also game the system with enrollment interviews to screen out behavior problems. In a month, after the state pays CCCS for each child, the behaviors will be sent to the public school and CCCS will keep the money. That's how they get better scores. Trust.

Submitted by Helen Gym on September 14, 2012 8:50 pm

Great story Ben. Good to hear the District wants to address these issues, but could you clarify how many people are currently employed in the charter school oversight office?

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on September 15, 2012 12:25 am

Helen,

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said the District is currently in the process of surveying/investigating the application and enrollment processes at all 80+ charter schools in the city, with a report expected to be made public in late October.

I don't have a current number of staff in the District's Office of Charter Schools, but I can confirm via Gallard that Thomas Darden has not yet been replaced. Chief Recovery Officer Tom Knudsen currently holds the decision-making authority that was previously Mr. Darden's, and Doresah Ford-Bey remains in her previous capacity overseeing traditional charters.

Gallard also said that the District is currently looking at ways to restructure the Office of Charter Schools and direct more resources to the office.

Ben

 

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on September 16, 2012 7:24 pm

Mr. Herold: Here's a story "in the wings." Now that high schools have switched to Keystone Exams, students will take the test (Algebra 1, English Lit, and Biology - more are on the way) after they take the course. This is logical and more educationally appropriate than the former PSSA mode (e.g. a final exam versus a generic reading or math test). Now, students who take Algebra 1, for example, in 8th or 9th grade will carry their "proficient/advanced" score with them until they are a junior. When the student is a junior, the score will count for the school's AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress).

I am concerned that there will be a sudden removal from magnets/special admits/charters of students who don't score proficient. If by their junior year, a student who has taken the Algebra 1 exam multiple times and is still not proficient, the magnet/special admit/charter can return the student to their neighborhood school. Also, magnets/special admits/charters might also recruit students from neighborhood schools who have scored "proficient/advanced." This is not a conspiracy theory - this happens already. (Students will take the three tests after the course - Biology in 9th or 10th grade and English Lit. after 10th grade. This gives the students another year to improve their score. High Schools with stable populations - yes, magnets/special admit/suburban schools - should see AYP rates rise.)

I work at a neighborhood school that has students "returned" to neighborhood schools from charters who have an IEP, low reading scores, behavioral issues / etc. With the Keystone score "traveling" with the student, I can see "returning" "non proficient" students to neighborhood schools becoming a trend. We also might lose students who we prepare and score "proficient/advanced" just in time (junior year) for the magnet/special admit/charter to take them. Then, groups like the Philadelphia School Partnership will again label neighborhood schools "lower performing" while awarding grants to magnet schools and charters that "cherry pick" students.

While this won't happen right away, lets see what happens next summer after the first two sets of Keystones Exams (Jan. and May 2013) are administered.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2012 11:25 pm

Your point is well taken, however, my understanding is that more Keystone Exams (Geometry, Algebra II, Chemistry, Composition, to name a few from the website) are in the works and that once all of the tests are phased in, students will take them in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years as they finish each course.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on September 17, 2012 11:21 pm

The additional Keystones will be phased in very gradually. It will depend on funding and who runs the Dept. of Ed. For now, only English and Alg. 1 count for AYP. Students have a better chance of scoring proficient/advanced since they will have multiple opportunities to take the test. That said, while other exams will (eventually) be given (yes, other than biology), I still wouldn't put it past some magnets and charters to drop students who haven't scored proficient/advanced in Alg. 1 and English by their junior year and return them to a neighborhood school. To date, exams are scheduled for 9th and 10th grade. (2012-2013 is the exception since most 11th graders haven't taken the test.

Submitted by jcgrim (not verified) on September 15, 2012 7:35 am

The KKK endorses charter schools:

http://kkk.bz/?p=2460

It's comforting that our tax dollars are supporting, our elected officials have mandated, the corporate school deformers (e.g. billionaire charter investors), and our Sec of Education Arne Duncan are of the same philosophy as the KKK.

Remember: It's all about the kids.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2012 7:32 am

Let's not forget " The Brothers and Sisters are Running this City "

Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on September 15, 2012 8:25 am

No its money and greed...a person of color can participate

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2012 8:29 am

GrrenWoods had a very serious cheating problem about 6 years ago which resulted in their Board being replaced. Apparently, the job of the charter office of the SD is to rap the knuckles of these schools and send them on their way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:01 pm
thats a lie! Some board memebers were replaced, but it had to do with a power play by Jean Wallace not because of cheating.
Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2012 9:40 am

The answer is, charters must have the exact same enrollment process as any other school. Proof of immunizations, a standardized enrollment form (name, address, etc), and a utility bill with an address. Charters have to take whoever walks in the door, just like public schools do.

Otherwise, what you've done is stolen public money to pay for a private school.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2012 10:01 am

This is all Public School teachers ask for. Compare "apples to apples" and oranges to oranges" and we (public neighborhood schools) will out perform charters every time.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on September 15, 2012 10:10 am

Great report, Ben (both in print and on the radio). Green Woods is only the worst example of Charter School barriers. I wonder why the SDP simply cannot require that all Charter School applications be available both online and in paper form at the district charter school office? Or better yet (but it will never happen), have the charter schools mandated to be included in the voluntary transfer process lottery. Fill out the same selection sheet as district public school students, then have one big lottery to assign (not pick) students. After all, charters are saying they are the same as district non-selection schools, so why not concede to the same transfer process? Well, we all know the answer to that question. Green Woods obviously wants to make sure their student population is mostly white and middle-class, that is why they have the process they have. Other charters pick students in other ways. The SRC needs to wise-up and put a stop to it.

Submitted by Joan Taylor on September 15, 2012 9:10 pm

This is a brilliant solution. It merits the fullest consideration from the SRC. Let 440 oversee the charter entry process as they oversee all other voluntary transfers within the district. This process will be much more democratic, and for charter operators, it will provide them with an opportunity to show that they are truly inclusive public schools, not private schools dipping into public funds. It's a win-win for education: charters get some of what they want; public school educators get some of what they want, and together, we might figure out some ways to make schools work for the kids we have the most trouble reaching. What a great compromise!

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on September 16, 2012 7:45 am

Through the Great Schools Compact, city education leaders from both the District and charters are currently exploring a common application and enrollment system.  Families would complete a single application, with a single deadline, on which they would identify the District and charter schools they are interested in having their child attend.  The District would run the enrollment/assignment process.  Denver is one model the group is looking at.  I expect we will hear more about this in the near future.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on September 16, 2012 8:30 am

Thank you for this update. A streamlined, single application and enrollment process will be more equitable. That said, will this enrollment process apply to magnet/special admit schools? To date, the application process for magnet schools is unique to many schools. Besides grades, test scores, attendance and behavior requirements, SLA requires an interview and project, Constitution HS and Bodine have particular essays, Central and Academy at Palumbo require essays and recommendations, CAPA, GAMP and Academy at Rush require auditions, ETC. (The Sustainability Project - a program for high school seniors - requires an interview and essay.) It is a very complicated process if an 8th grade student applies to 5 schools with different application requirements. A student who meets the requirements (high(er) test scores, high(er) grades, excellent attendance and no behavior "infractions"), then needs support in finding out what to do for each school and complete the requirements by the SDP deadline. Is the "Great School Compact" considering how to provide all 8th graders with the needed support to complete the process? Will magnet/special admit schools have to eliminate all requirements other than test scores, grades, attendance and behavior?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2012 8:10 am

I don't think magnet/special admit schools will eliminate any of their requirements. The reason being is that the student can still go to their "neighborhood" school. Magnet/Special Admit school's don't hide their requirements nor do they make exceptions for those that don't perform. They don't have to. If they did, then they would not be a Magnet/Special Admit school, it would just be another "neighborhood " school.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 5:55 pm

Interestingly enough a parent that did not attend the country club open house was able to get her daughter enrolled prior to students that were on the waiting list for the exact same grade. Explain how that happened? Somehow she was able to setup a private meeting after hearing about the waiting list for that grade and bumped the next person in line and secured a spot for her daughter. This particular mom has many Rox/Many business and political connections in addition Mom was very active on the H&SA of the school her daughter left.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 6:30 pm

I find that really interesting. When in fact that same person always came across at community forums and events as against charters because they take away funding from public schools. Any idea how she went about getting her daughter in? What was her reasoning for this? Had anybody spoken to see why she chose Green Woods over her child's now former school?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:54 pm
Im happy that the school is exclusionary. The people who want their kids to have better educations need to take the appropriate actions to get their kids in the best schools. If you want to apply you have to go to the open house to find out what the school is about. The School made sure that the parents had to do some legwork to make sure that the learning process was optimum. Anyone can fill out an online application. Cherry Pick away. I want the best for my kid and work hard to make shore that he receives it, Other Parents dont give a crap
Submitted by Lance Hill (not verified) on September 15, 2012 11:28 am

Excellent research.

My only caveat is that charter schools that don't engage in bold-faced enrollment selectivity can also be be guilty of a more insidious form of academic segregation: 'Selective retention" is the other primary way charters screen out low-performing students once enrolled. Some of the most exalted charters have attrition rates exceeding 50% over a period of years.

In Louisiana, charters can require students to repeat a school year despite adequate progress (a sure way to prompt parents to withdraw students to avoid the life-time stigma of "being held-back); charters can threaten to expel a student to persuade parents to voluntary withdraw students to avoid having a child at home rest of the year; charters can compel students to take summer classes at excessive cost and not provide school transportation to classes; they can expel low-performing students on the pretext of minor rules violations; they can simply refuse to enroll students for the next year. Some charters even threaten to report parents to child protective services if the school expels students (effective way to coerce parents to "voluntarily withdraw" their child) .

In the last year, Louisiana has implemented some regulations to remedy cherry-picking and disciplinary charter abuses, but there is no reason to believe that charters will comply with these regulations any more than they complied with long-standing orders that charters enroll minimum percentages of special needs students.

After years of denying that charters artificially increase test performance by cherry-picking and selectively retaining the best students, that the state would implement new regulations to control these practices implicitly concedes that "charter doping" has indeed been a widespread practice. The new regulations cast doubt on all the data deployed to prove "miraculous and unprecedented" charter gains in Louisiana: If the system has been gamed, then the data is invalid and the "gold medals" have to be returned.

Finally, I don't find anything ironic or odd that some "minority people" are in some way accomplices to creating a new academic apartheid. Ethnicity is a culturally descriptive term: it does not confer moral or ethical validity nor does it legitimate behavior. There are 7 billion people on the planet and 5 thousand language groups: it's not hard to find a few people willing to make things worse for their own identity group. The challenge is to stop the injustices and not to prove that one group has a monopoly on virtue.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2012 2:00 pm

Strange how this suddenly news. Greenwood Charter has been pulling this crap for years. I remember reading on other boards about how white the student population was for a school in an urban area. The location that is not mass transit friendly also works into the student selection process too. Glad the media finally got around to exposing these charlatans.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on September 15, 2012 2:02 pm

What country club does the Green Wood Public Charter School use to host their 'application night'? I would be even further disgusted if it's one of those country clubs that discriminates in membership. It is appalling that the SRC allows a public school to pay for a school meeting at a country club. How many parents would feel comfortable walking into that club. I know I wouldn't!

And why would the SRC allow a racist charter school to continue. You are not allowed to ask children what their immigrant status is, nor are you allowed in public schools to deny children their right to an education based on their national origin. What kind of principal of a public school doesn't know that and how can they even be allowed to continue to run it? On public funds?? Disgusting!

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on September 15, 2012 2:37 pm

Green Woods' open house will be held again this year at the ACE Conference Center in Lafayette Hill, Pa., a private conference center located on the same grounds as the ACE Club, a privately managed "corporate-oriented golf facility offering corporate and individual memberships," according  to the facility's website.  

Submitted by Annony. (not verified) on September 15, 2012 10:30 pm

While I don't sanction Green Woods policies, there are many charter schools in Philadelphia that are for a particular ethnic group, Imhotep, Harambe, and other Afrocentric schools are for African American students. Nueva Esperanza is for Latino/a students. Their curriculum and recruitment is for a particular community. That said, I don't know the demographics of Green Wood but, based on its location, I assume it is predominantly white. I don't know if its curriculum espouses a particular ethnic perspective.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 8:31 pm

80% white and I've had people try to tell me that that makes sense because of its environmental mission. Only white people like the environment??! What a disgusting argument to make.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 8:36 pm

Franklin Towne Charter is 80% white - along with charters in the far Northeast. Bridgesburg Elementary - a SDP school - is 90% white and Adaire Elementary - a SDP school - is 80% white. I imagine Greenswood would argue it is in a white neighborhood so it is predominantly white. Other charter schools - with an Afrocentric curriculum - are 100% African American and in African American neighborhoods.

Philadelphia is historically segregated which leads to segregated schools. The SDP refused - 50 years ago - to institute busing. That battle became a mute point by the 2000s. There are schools with diverse populations - today in northeast (Franford, Northeast, Lincoln, Fels) because the neighborhood demographics have changed. Southern and Furness - in south Philly - continue to be integrated. Most magnets / special admits are also integrated to different degrees.

Should all charters be required to be more reflective of Philadelphia's demographics? Then, Community Academy Charter, MAST charter, Imhotep, Math, Civics and Science Charter, Nueva Esperanza, ETC. should be required to integrate. The reality is students from the far northeast are going to continue to go to their "local" schools and African American parents who want an Afrocentric curriculum will send their children to those schools. There are a number of charters like Nueva Esperanza that focus on Latino/a students. I don't think Greenwoods "focuses" on white students but they are attracting students from a predominantly "white" area of the city. Obviously, their environmental focus may appeal to anyone regardless of ethnicity/race. Wissihickon Charter also has an environmental focus and is almost entirely African American.

Submitted by tom-104 on September 16, 2012 9:44 pm

It all becomes much clearer if you start with class rather than ethnicity. Charters do not want children from low income families. If an African American child is from a middle class family most charters will take them. Most public schools are becoming for low income families and their demographics depend on their neighborhood. The SRC and Boston Consulting Groups are setting up a two-tier school system based on class.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 9:33 pm

Regardless of whether or not the area is predominantly white or not, the schools in that area per the school district's own website all show a diverse mixture of cultures.
Cook-Wissahickon: 45.2% white, 43% African-American; Dobson: 48.6% white, 42% African-American; and Shawmont: 52% white, 37% African-American. So if all the local public schools show diversity in their numbers, how is that Green Woods shows a student population of 80% white?

Submitted by annonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 10:24 pm

Shawmont and Dobson have busing which changes the demographics. Adaire in Fishtown is 80% white while Penn Treaty - which buses all students and is also in Fishtown is 23% white. Why? Bridesburg Elementary is 90% white. Why? These are SDP schools. Granted, Greenwoods demographics are suspicious but if you are going to question the demographics at one school, the demographics at others should be questions (e.g. Community Academy Charter, MAST Charter, etc.) Is anyone questioning why Masterman's high school is about 60% white and over 20% Asian?

Cook-WIssahickon is in a wealthy neighborhood by Philadelphia standards. Just like Meredith, Penn Alexander, Greenwood, McCall, etc., parents at these schools are able to provide more resources which are essential in a thrash and burn environment of school funding. This was evident last year when school budgets were cut midstream. This year, Science Leadership Academy had a campaign to raise $40,000. No neighborhood school can begin to raise that type of money - even with 4 times the students.

Submitted by Concerned RoxParent (not verified) on September 17, 2012 9:11 am

Shawmont is a Music Magnet and Cook-Wiss took alot of kids under NCLB last year (close to 90 if I remember correctly). [These are kids that were at schools that did not make AYP]. Not sure about Dobson. All three schools absorbed children that attended Levering School, which closed in June.

Green Woods does not have have to absorb the NCLB kids or the Levering kids, the majority (90) went to Cook and Shawmont, so now those schools are fighting to add teachers so that there are not 45 kids in class.

All most parents and teachers want is a level playing field. If you are giveing $10 to a Charter School, the Public School should get the same $10. If the Charter School is given a gym teacher, the Public School should be given a gym teacher. If the Public School has to bend over backwards and use resources to service kids with diabilites, IEP'S, GIEP'S, 504 Plans, and discipline issues then the Charter should have to do the same.

Submitted by Kristie (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:21 am
I live in Bridesburg and our neighborhood is almost 100% white. But 50% of them are junkies so trust me color is not making a difference around here. 50% are hard working parents so you get a different kind of mix at that school. My Hispanic Fosterson was there four years ago. Only 40% of his class was on grade level for reading. He was one of them. Race is not a factor in performance. Parental involvement is the only variable that really matters with children of normal learning capacity. The schools with more involved parents succeed and those that don't fail.
Submitted by Kristie (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:20 am
I adopted my sons and they are half Hispanic and half Caucasion. My son the other day said I am white Mom. He is 5 and one of the lightest kids at an almost all African American Headstart ( probably the best Headstart in the city). As I started to apply for Charter Schools I thought being Hispanic males who would perform proficient to advanced would be marketable. It was not. We lost our top choice lottery and many others. We did win one lottery. No one really cares at the K level. Most of these schools are legit as I tried to play the race card with no success. My kids wi outperform almost anyone eventually because we were already doing Venn diagrams at 4, Sunday morning fractions, Sight words, decoding, and they already know how to use proper punctuation. Kids have such high learning capacity. Almost all of them can excel if parents take the time to teach them the skills. I adopted these kids from foster care....born at 30 1/2 weeks addicted to drugs and lived 13 months in a crack house. I believe ANY child of normal intelligence can perform exceptional. Some kids will always have special needs. The way to change education is to change parents.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 1:18 pm

Ace Center was the site of the suburban open house. You would think all schools would want to hold their open houses at the school so prospective parents could see the actual school. Having the application offered that one night year is a very exclusionary practice and not a practice that a standup school would stoop to engaging in.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:58 am
Since GWCS does not provide ANY meals many low income kids won't attend.
Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on September 15, 2012 3:08 pm

Thanks, just looked them up.

I don't think I would feel comfortable going there. I grew up near Whitford Hills
and knew the daughter of the president of the club, in fact went to high school with her and she told me that blacks, jews and Italian Americans (she was surprised that a fellow classmate of Italian descent was allowed to join) were not allowed. I also had several friends invite me there to swim as a kid and then later had to hear my friends uninvite me when their parents saw me, as was told again that black were not allowed as guests.

When a friend got married at a country club in Delaware, I called the country club myself to make sure that I would be allowed to attend my friends wedding because I had experienced country clubs not even allowing black guests.

Given my experience with country clubs in the Philadelphia region, I am horrified a public school would deign to be as obnoxious to host an application night.

Submitted by Taxpaying parent (not verified) on September 15, 2012 7:52 pm

Disgusting! And to hear groups like Students First make claims that school choice is "the civil rights issue of our time" is downright insulting and disingenuous. Education Law Center, could we the people of Philadelphia please file a law suit against charter schools which refuse to follow the law? Otherwise, I can't help but feel like these exclusionary enrollment practices will continue.

Submitted by tom-104 on September 16, 2012 9:04 am

A member of the New Jersey Education Law Center has coauthored several columns in The Answer Sheet at the Washington Post. The articles are about the Broad Foundation which is deeply involved with privatization in Philadelphia and nationally. Please read these articles like you and your students' lives depend on it! (Be sure to read the comments.)

Broad Foundation’s plan to expand influence in school reform - August 21, 2012
http://tinyurl.com/9k79k4k

On school reform: Broad’s misleading response to critics - September 11, 2012
http://tinyurl.com/c8lc6dh

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 10:29 am

So let me get this straight. If charter schools expand to accomodate demand they are bloodthirsty capitalists that sign up kids left right and center to pad their bank accounts? And if they limit their size so that the demand (hope) for a decent school vastly outweights supply they are elitist cherry-pickers?

How about we deal with the facts. One-size-fits-all city-wide public school systems have ossified beyond repair. Charter schools, which are public schools with select hybridized benefits of private schools, are beginning to build a better system of public education.

Disclaimer: I am a charter school teacher. With a relevant BA from an ivy-league school and a JD from a top 20 law school, I am not eligible to teach in my local public school because I haven't paid to spend 6 months to get certified at my local community college or 6 months as an unpaid grader/photocopier (all required by local union-imposed rules for teaching in traditional public schools)

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on September 16, 2012 10:12 am

It took me a long time to come around on the idea that charter schools are going to be around and that some of them are actually innovative and places to learn from. The idea that charter schools, as a movement, are building a better system of public is just not accurate. Each school might be building a better alternative to a nearby school. And that is a big might. But charter schools are not a public system. They are just schools. The public system, traditional public schools for everybody based on their residency in the city, is not going to go away. No matter how badly some people want it to. People need schools that accept their children no matter what. 

As for the fact you can't teach in a traditional school because you aren't certified, I don't think you are going to garner much sympathy. In no other profession as crucial as teaching would a relevant degree replace certification. Being a teacher is more than being smart, and in fact, is much more than being certified. Your understanding of the student teaching process is very different to the student teaching process I went through and have seen other teachers go through. I know at St. Joseph's University I had a relevant student teaching placement with a master teacher, Rosemary McGee, at the C.W Henry School. I did grade work, and ran photocopies, but I learned how to teach and respond and listen and collaborate too. In fact, I can't imagine creating the first learning space I was in charge of out of college without that experience. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Federal Government have decided that teachers need to be certified to teach. I doubt you want a public school system where the bar to entrance in the field of teaching is just college degrees or being "smart". I know I don't.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 12:41 pm

Your simplistic stereotyping of public school teachers and charters tells us all we need to know about your bias. I have never heard of any charter school "limiting their size". That is vastly different from cherry-picking the student population they choose to let in their schools. We are tired of hearing the myth that charter schools are just another version of public schools. They are not, public schools MUST take any and all that come in through their doors. If charters accept public money then they need to serve all children of the public regardless of how "difficult" those children might be. Charters were to be a template for all schools, but the governing powers in Philadelphia seem to think that charters should be allowed to have special privileges. BTW, what is the source of your information for teaching colleges that require their student teachers to be "unpaid grader/photocopiers"? Why did you waste time going to law school if you were just going to end up at a charter school?

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on September 16, 2012 12:10 pm

As someone who has a BSBA and MBA, and will soon have a Master's in Ed, AND has passed several Praxis I and Praxis 2 tests and will shortly have the 36 + graduate level credits to be certified teacher to work in both public and charter schools (I volunteered in public and work in a charter) I would have to correct your assumption about what it takes to be certified in the state of Pennsylvania.

You would not get certified which all schools (charter or public) with the path you suggested. It's taking me 2 years full time graduate level work to switch careers to becoming a teacher. I am surprised you were able to even get a job with your lack of qualifications.

Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on September 16, 2012 6:02 pm

Dear MBA to M'ED mom
Stick with it...you went to school, you learned to think, and you know how to adjust when needed. That is was life is and what school is in reality.

We all would like to be Harvard but there is nothing wrong with educating someone who goes to Community College.

Keep on working towards the goal of teaching as many as you can while you learn from the students in the process......the static and caustic remarks written by some people on this line are a clear indication that some people need not teach, they really need to go somewhere and work in the WIDGET factory where they will never get complaints from the wood.

Hang in
Linda K.
Art Teacher with an EdD from Saint Joes under her belt

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on September 16, 2012 8:33 pm

Thanks so much!! I especially like the WIDGET comment!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 1:15 pm

It's obvious that you have been swallowing the anti-union Kool-Aide that your charter school task masters have been feeding you. Since when do the unions decide what is necessary to become a teacher. I never met a single union member or official until after I was hired. The university told me what to take based on what the state Dept. of Education dictated as requirements. No wonder you washed out as a lawyer.

Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on September 16, 2012 6:10 pm

What? 6 months unpaid to practice teach?

It is a 6 week term for practice teaching not more no less. I think someone is giving you the bamboozle speech.

I left retail to substitute teach and got my cert while I worked. It was NOT pleasant to studnet teach unpaid for 6 weeks at the elementary level and then 6 more at the high school level for dual cert but I did it to get paid. I worked two part time jobs to make it through those 12 weeks and lived with my folks.

I hope you will reconsider the SDP if that is the local district that you were checking.....the salary has to be better than charter school and you do get a process if you have issues with administration- the Union.
Good luck wherever you are
Linda K.
Art Teacher in the SDP

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on September 16, 2012 7:33 pm

Philly public schools are not "one-size-fits-all." Under the Ackerman administration, she attempted to turn neighborhood schools into "one-size-fits-all" and it backfired. At the high school level, there are many different schools (mission, programs, etc.) There actually is more diversity in what is offered in SDP high schools than the charters.

What charter high schools too often have - the "hybridized benefits of private schools" - is the ability to select students through a variety of indirect and direct methods and the ability to quickly get rid of students. This is the same as magnet/special admit schools. Now, charters and private schools apparently have the ability to get million plus grants from the Philadelphia School Partnership while most public schools will have difficulty accessing this funding.

The requirements for teacher certification are determined by state departments of education - not unions. I would like to see a more rigorous preparation - especially compared to the "quicky" provided by Teach for America and Teachers Fellows. These programs are inefficient. Ideally, teachers would student teach and spend their first year in an apprentice programs with an experience co-teacher. That takes money so I'm not holding my breath. This has nothing to do with grading/photocopying.

Submitted by Concerned RoxParent (not verified) on September 17, 2012 8:23 am

Not Certified? So another way the Charters get around paying teachers decent salary. Get a bunch of lapdogs to teach to the test, they don't need to know anything about education right?

Glad my kid doesn't go to your school.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2012 9:08 am

Good for you, good for the charter that hired you and good for the SRC for allowing deviation from the centralized status quo.

The best private schools don't care much about certification. Few if any of my best teachers had ed school credentials. Most had masters and Phd's in physics, history and relevant subject matter. They loved to teach but I think were burned out by the higher academic political environment...

Looking at the national level, the % of certified teachers has 0 correlation with improved educational outcomes over the last 40 years.

Submitted by tom-104 on September 16, 2012 12:58 pm

Are charter schools public schools? Would a public school even think about engaging in practices described in this article?

Practices of teacher-placement agency, personal-care-home operator raise concerns.
from Philadelphia City Paper

"From the start, Anita DeFrancesco realized that working for K-12 Staffing — a company that placed substitute teachers in local charter schools — was unlike any job she’d held before.

It wasn’t normal, she says, that the company asked for, but never followed up on obtaining, her state-required child-abuse-history clearance, criminal background check or FBI clearance before sending her to fill in at New Media Technology Charter School in Mount Airy last December. It wasn’t normal that — despite submitting multiple invoices — she was never paid for her work, around $550. And it definitely wasn’t normal when, this spring, K-12 Staffing’s website went dark and its Facebook page vanished."

http://www.citypaper.net/news/2012-09-13-evasive-maneuvers-charter-schoo...

Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on September 16, 2012 6:30 pm

Yes, they are, but with the benefits of being able to "select"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2012 5:30 pm

We all have stories where Charters do as they please and get away with it because the system supports their corruption. Until that changes, things will continue as they have and likely even get worse. Phila. ain't Chicago where the Union demands fair play and gets it. Here Jordan stays quiet and allows Corbett and Nutter and their minions like Pedro to play both sides of the same hand.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 3:56 pm

No one could or would try to defend such blatant exclusionary practices. But consider a few things. These practices hurt families and other charters (those doing the right thing). All charters/public schools are compared against one another. They compete for students and funding (grants), but that was always part of the charter model. When a few schools game the system, it hurts everyone. Also, look at the costs that charters excluding children with IEP's, behavior problems or academic deficiencies avoid.

One last thought. These practices have been going on for years. When is someone at the district going to face consequences? When these practices are allowed to occur the whole system fails.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 6:27 pm

Interestingly enough a Parent was able to get her daughter into Greenwoods Charter School without having to attend their country club open house. She was able to get her daughter in after hearing from another Mom that her daughter was on a waiting list for the same grade. This means that the new student's mom had to obtain a private meeting late in the lottery process to secure a spot when a waiting list had already been published. This particular mom has many business and political connections in the Rox/Many area. She was also very active in the H&SA of the school her daughter left.

So if Greenwoods Charter School has a true "lottery " system how did this child get admitted?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 6:46 pm

Just name the woman already or send it to Benjamin.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 7:37 pm

During the summer, GW posted on their website that additional spots for grade 2 were available and that interested parties could obtain applications. That is how additional children were able to be admitted to grade 2 long after the regular admission process was closed. Having attended the portion of the Open House that was for grade 2 and up, i can attest that there were relatively few parents there (compared to the scores of folks who show up for the K-1 portion of the Open House)...and I surmise that all who applied for grade 2 were accepted, and even then they still had several open spots available due to the expansion of their enrollment.

Also, the ACE Center is in very close proximity to GW's former campus. They needed a space that could hold the 800+ people who showed up. I, for one, as a Roxborough resident, was glad for the ample space and free parking. The ACE Center is also, as has been previously mentioned, on the Septa bus #27 route.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 9:49 pm

If the KKK endorses charter schools then the mob must control the unions!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 11:08 pm

Huh? Neither of you make any sense SMH

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 19, 2012 1:26 pm

stupid comment.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on September 16, 2012 10:40 pm

What appalls me is that the District and the state have not been overseeing the application practices of charters every year. I have written comments on this website and other forums about how restrictive Green Woods CS's practices are. Green Woods is acting like a private school. If your school wants to be a private school, then open as a private school, but not as a charter school. Charter schools are publicly-funded!!! Let's face it, Green Woods was trying to prevent poor children of color from attending their school. A traditional public school with only 17% economically disadvantaged students in Philadelphia is absolutely UNHEARD of!!!

A former neighbor of mine has a daughter who used to attend the Lab School. He said he took her out of that school because she had no life outside of school. School was from 8 am to 4 pm each day plus about 2 hours of homework each night. That is a totally unhealthy lifestyle for a child.

People can criticize KIPP, Mastery, Universal and other charters, but they do not go out of their way to exclude students through the application process. Go into a Mastery school and one will see near the front desk applications for the school. The selective admissions at schools like Green Woods make the comparison of charter schools with one another pretty useless because there are so many variables that are not held constant. The exclusion at these schools is also wrong and it is a civil rights issue for children of color, children with special needs, and English language learners.

Submitted by annonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2012 11:23 pm

Mastery has a form parents/students must sign - their "by any means necessary" policy. They also require a 76% passing rate for all classes. This also discourages families and/or gives Mastery an avenue for kicking students out.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:25 pm
Submit Race Card Here. It has nothing to do with race, there are children from all walks of life. It just so happens that our neighborhood school is mostly Caucasian because our neighborhood is mostly Caucasian.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on September 16, 2012 10:26 pm

One other fact about Green Woods CS is that, at least for last school year, all of the teachers, staff, and administration members were white. The photos are posted on their website. There was not one African American teacher. That is another sneaky way of discouraging Black families, particularly low income ones, from applying for their children to go to the school.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:41 pm
Oh Well.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:48 am
And guess what... Every teacher is hardworking and dedicated regardless of their skin color.
Submitted by Ken Derstine on September 17, 2012 7:26 am

Related to the discussion about the segregation of America's schools, Diane Ravitch has this post from a reader of her blog:

Chicago Education Apartheid?

"The “global city” that Chicago’s elite have been crafting for decades is a racially and economically segregated city—gleaming downtown office towers for the upwardly mobile, and blighted neighborhoods of low-wage or would-be laborers, tucked away, out of sight. A 2012 study of census data by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research found that Chicago is the most racially segregated city in the United States. And how could it not be? While corporations receive TIF money to subsidize their largesse, and billionaires like the Board of Education’s own Penny Pritzker evade paying their full share of property taxes, the seeds of the city’s inequality are re-sown every year in our segregated school system."

http://dianeravitch.net/2012/09/17/chicago-education-apartheid/

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 19, 2012 1:08 pm

Franklin towne in the NE was charging a $40 application fee. Got caught, still given a charter for 5 more years AND an elementary school. Caught overcharging for tokens a few years ago. again, issued a new charter. they are all so politically connected it's sickening. All charter's have a relative of some politician working in their office. PSD is supposed to be present at EVERY lottery drawing for students. Ask the district the last time anyone showed up at ANY lottery drawing. FTCHS did a full background check on all of there students prior to giving the parents a yes. Did a profile check on SCN, all of it. Why is it people keep writig about these things and nothing is ever done??????

Submitted by Kristie (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:00 am
Franklin is two blocks from our house and we lost their lottery even with letters from John Taylor and Bobby Henon's offices. So I think they changed their ways. I spent almost an hour talking with the principal about the SRC and expansions and we still did not get in. I ran into the Dean of students at a council meeting. We spoke for an extended period of time and we still did not get in. Luckily we did win another lottery at a top school that I am actually very excited about now. The distance was the main reason Franklin Towne was my top choice school. But if my kids are on a bus at 7am then that's free before care when I go back to work next year. Always find the silver lining. Lol
Submitted by Annony (not verified) on March 27, 2013 9:15 am
I'm glad you are no longer "teaching" as a substitute in the School District. You have a warped sense of fairness - what is fair for you and screws everyone else appears to be okay. Based on your other posts, your world only involves yourself and to other be damned. If you are raising your children to be a selfish and with the "I'll get mine - screw you" attitude you are not contributing to a healthy community. You are as warped as the so-called "junkie" parents you condemn.
Submitted by Kristie (not verified) on March 27, 2013 11:55 am
Everyone I know that teaches in Philly public schools has their own children at Methatacton, upper bucks, catholic or charter schools. I want the best for ALL kids but charity always begins at home. Putting my children into a failing system would prove what point? I will continue to push for changes across the board in Philadelphia but under no circumstance will I gamble with my children's future. I am not raising them to be selfish. We will all give back always in anyway possible. If you wouldn't say you put your children above anything else in the world your lying.
Submitted by Still In the Mix (not verified) on March 27, 2013 12:17 pm
And that is exactly how many people? That statement could be true with just one person so what does it prove?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 21, 2012 2:40 am

i don't like this

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:50 am
GOOD!! THERE SHOULD BE OBSTACLES THAT NEED TO BE CROSSED IF YOU WANT THE BEST FOR YOUR CHILDREN. WHEN IT COMES TO GOING TO HS THE SAME BARRIERS NEED TO BE CROSSED IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE BEST YOU HAVE TO WORK FOR IT. AS A PARENT YOU DO WHATEVER IT TAKES AND STOP AT NOTHING....
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 9, 2013 11:44 pm
This was a very interesting article . I always really thought that since it was a" lottery" that the paperwork was done by the luck of the draw rather then a selective process. A naive thought on my part. Perhaps more selective charters that are upfront about it should be allowed and encouraged such as their public school counterparts such as Masterman and Gamp. That way the criteria would be clearly defined and not seen as the slanted and self serving . Being that Charters are funded by public dollars, it seems that they would have to be transparent and accessible for all. This clearly does not seem to be the case. That being said, As a local tax payer I have been wondering how a school like Greenwoods can afford to build their own school while many public schools are being shuttered or experiencing significant financial cuts ? While it might be wonderful school ,the public dollars seem to benefit the lucky few ?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 9, 2013 11:30 pm
I wish I knew where the Money was coming from . It does not make sense with what is going on with the District these days ?

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