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Among largest cities, Philadelphia has highest share of charter students

By David Limm on Nov 14, 2012 04:58 PM

With nearly one in four city students in publicly funded schools attending a charter, Philadelphia is among the top 10 cities in the country for charter market share, according to a report released this week.

Philadelphia, though, is by far the largest district in the country with such a big proportion of students in charters. With more than 200,000 students, the Philadelphia's School District is nearly twice as large as the next biggest district in the top 20, Detroit, which has 113,000 students.

According to the report, compiled by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), a nonprofit advocacy organization, 23 percent of students in Philadelphia, attended charters in 2011-12. That amounts to nearly 47,000 students.

In terms of the raw number of students attending charters, the city ranks fourth, behind Los Angeles, New York City, and Detroit.

"The increase in public charter school enrollment in all types of communities across America shows that parent demand for school options continues to grow," said Nina Rees, president and chief executive of NAPCS, in a statement.

The report details the growth of the charter school movement across the country. A record-high 110 school districts now have at least 10 percent of their students attending charters, an increase of almost 15 percent over last year. The New Orleans school system, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, held the highest enrollment percentage, with 76 percent of the students attending a charter. Detroit and the District of Columbia were next, at 41 percent each.

Noted charter school researcher Gary Miron, in a Huffington Post story about the report, points out something that the NAPCS report doesn't address: the growing role of charter management organizations in creating networks of schools. Miron says that, nationally, 42 percent of charter students now attend schools run by such organizations. Here in Philadelphia, they include Mastery, KIPP, Universal, and Young Scholars. The growth of charter networks, Miron argues, has diluted the original purpose of charters as small schools acting as centers of innovation.

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Comments (21)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 14, 2012 4:57 pm
Yes, the farce continues and the PFT watches, shocked just shocked !!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 15, 2012 12:43 am
specifics, please. Exactly how does the PFT stop it?
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on November 15, 2012 7:31 am
Be there Saturday.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 14, 2012 5:54 pm
The original design of Charters was VERY naive or it was designed to look innocent, I don't know which. I do know that once the business world saw profit in education, it was over for the real schools who struggle to teach kids who live on the margin.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on November 14, 2012 7:19 pm
Since charter operators like Mastery, KIPP, Young Scholars, Universal, String Theory, ETC. operate like a school district (e.g. Mastery has a "central office" staff of at least 35 - and growing), can the teachers be organized by charter operator versus single school? That should decrease the threat of "no renewal of contract" (and no due process) which often happens at charters when teachers try to organize. Also, the shenanigans by the Corbett Adm. to make it much easier for charters to make AYP, will charter operators have to make AYP in ALL their schools or, again, one school at a time? Charter operators should have to play by the same rules as school districts.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on November 14, 2012 9:16 pm
Good point after point after point---Bottom Line is "The Fix Is In." Having said that, isn't it curious that all this corruption is going unchallenged in any meaningful way?? Me smells a rat or maybe many of them.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 14, 2012 8:46 pm
Is there really a point to this article? It must be a slow day for news down at the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. "The Demand for Charter Schools Grows!" The only place the demand is growing is in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, D.C. etc. My kid gets assigned to one school and that's it; no choice. However, in these cities we have to provide a regular buffet of school choice options, why? The original charter school was actually developed by the AFT. They were developed as schools within schools. The model was never to include totally autonomous schools that run independently of the public schools. And the PFT just sits back and watches the entire Philadelphia School District become parceled out to the charter movement. Well, at least we have RED SHIRTS on FRIDAY. Thanks Jerry.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 15, 2012 12:31 am
Specifics, not rants. What would you do to stop it?
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on November 14, 2012 9:29 pm
I like your post too, especially where good, ole Jerry is involved. Well, definitely not involved but watching and watching and watching and....... The CTU demonstrated the stark difference between them and us and it ain't good. Yes, wear a red shirt, that'll help.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 15, 2012 12:38 am
so when does someone announce they're running against jerry. or once again, will we just wake up one morning and learn that he ran unopposed in a secret election that no one knew was scheduled and is once again in charge.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 15, 2012 12:27 am
and your solution is? Specifics, not rants. How do YOU stop it
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on November 15, 2012 7:37 am
WE, not YOU is the first and most important step. I am not the Union Leader but I am pretty sure, standing around and watching ain't the answer. Making 2/3 of meetings ain't the answer either. It will take action, something surely lacking from Jerry Jordan. The CTU will give us some ideas on Saturday but it sure would be nice if the PFT had some thoughts too-----no, not red shirts.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on November 15, 2012 8:42 am

The PFT leadership has taken some important steps that often aren/t recognized by critics on the blogs.   Most signficantly its role in launching and sustaining PCAPS, a broad community-labor alliance.   PFT leadership and rank and file members have been a major presence in all the actions to date.    

By all means PFT members should come and learn from the Chicago experience.   But it shouldn't be assumed that the leadership isn't learning as well.   Members should get active in the union, push for the changes they think are needed, and judge the leadership based on their response.     

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 16, 2012 4:06 pm
I hope the PFT learns a lesson from the Hostess bankruptcy caused by their unions. You can't get blood from a stone. It's time to grant some concessions before it's too late.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 16, 2012 6:32 pm
I certainly hope that you are not looking to the intelligent workers in this country who wanted a living wage when there are two classes. That is what this country is coming to. There is money! It's all about who receives it. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is becoming poor.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 17, 2012 8:00 pm

Public school teachers have been granting concessions for years. They went two and a half years without a raise. There is a difference between the death of a junkfood industry and a school district that has always had trouble finding teachers even in the best of times. Two decades ago I use to talk to other teachers about working in Philly. Even though they were working as substitute teachers they preferred to stay with that than work in Philly. That's how bad the Philadelphia School District's reputation was back then. Do think it has gotten better since then? Nutter and his corrupt pals are going to be in for a shock if they think teachers are so desperate they will accept any crumbs these clowns care to offer. The district hasn't put 440 up for sale yet so they must still have some money. Look at the money they just laid out to attract another outsider for the superintendent when many Philadelphians could of and would of done the job for less money. Attracting new teachers may not be the problem, but keeping them will certainly be, especially when the special ed,, problems students, etc. are forced into the charters by the closure of the public schools. Still true today, "You get what you pay for."

Submitted by Paul Socolar on November 17, 2012 10:00 pm

We ask that people refrain from name-calling and slurs on this site.

In this case we took the time to edit rather than delete your whole comment but we will remove comments that violate our terms of use.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 18, 2012 1:24 pm
Fair enough.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 18, 2012 7:05 am
"The district hasn't put 440 up for sale yet so they must still have some money." I don't think that the SD owns the building at 440 so they can't put it up for sale. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 18, 2012 8:21 am
The district just borrowed $300 Million just to get through the next year. They obviously don't have any money.
Submitted by bibi (not verified) on June 5, 2014 11:07 am
I don't know how good this is. I am still a supporter of state schools and I hope that they will get past these hard times and become as good as they once were. case mansarda

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