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Ramos: 'I'd be lying if I said a moratorium was in any way feasible'

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 17, 2013 08:40 PM

Hundreds of parents, students and teachers came directly to the School Reform Commission on Thursday night to noisily challenge the District's plans to close 37 schools and reconfigure many more.

Carrying signs, chanting, shouting and interrupting, the overflow crowd made it difficult for the SRC to conduct business. More than 80 people signed up to speak, almost all to argue on behalf of individual schools and many to demand a one-year moratorium on any closings.

But when directly asked by one speaker to comment, SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said, "I'd be lying if I said a moratorium was in any way feasible without doing more harm to the District academically."

The SRC heard from students, parents, grandparents, religious leaders, community members, university professors and graduates. Anger filled the room. The SRC members and Superintendent William Hite for the most part listened quietly, only occasionally responding.

The principal of Ferguson Elementary, Carol Williams, said the recommendations to close her North Philadelphia school did not take into account that hundreds of units of new housing were being built in the neighborhood. Teachers and parents from Pepper Middle School invoked the partnership with the nearby John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and "environmental education that exists nowhere else in Philadelphia."

Teachers and parents challenged the decision to close Strawberry Mansion High, which one called "the only public high school left in North Philadelphia." Students and alumnae from Germantown High said that the school was improving despite the 10 years of constant churn in leadership.

"The children aren't failing, the District has failed the school," said Vera Primus, the president of the Germantown High School Alumni Association.

Parents and teachers warned that this kind of disruption will be the last straw for many students already struggling to stay in school.

"For many of our students, moving to another school is a death sentence," said Strawberry Mansion teacher activist Kenesta Mack, who pointed out that many Mansion students were just reassigned there last fall after the closing of two nearby high schools. She invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., saying that "we need a society, a school district that can live with its conscience."

One parent directly accused the leadership of racism.

"I find these school-closings recommendations to be unsafe and not thought out properly," said activist and parent Antoine Little."I think these are downright racial. ... You tell me why 27 of 37 schools are located in African American communities. I consider that to be an issue of race and not economics."

Hite and other officials, but not all the SRC members, have been attending an ongoing series of community-based meetings to discuss the closing recommendations. But to speak directly to SRC members, people came from all over the city. They protested the recommendations and argued that the financial savings will not be worth what will be lost in terms of safety and community stability.

More than one-third of the schools on the closure list had multiple speakers on their behalf: George Washington, Ferguson, Duckrey, Fairhill, McCloskey, and Fulton elementary schools; Pepper and AMY@ Martin middle schools, Germantown, Strawberry Mansion, Carroll, and Robeson high schools, and Elverson Military Academy.

"You say we'll save $28 million while dismantling our neighborhood schools and traumatizing our children," said activist Laura Dijoles. Arguing that it appears the new schools that most students will be attending are no better than the ones they are leaving, she said, "They will be disrupted, without necessarily enriching their lives."

Chants of "Moratorium, moratorium" followed many of the speakers' comments.

There were also shouts of "Where's the mayor?" Mayor Nutter has been mostly quiet about the school-closings plan. His two appointees on the SRC, Lorene Cary and Wendell Pritchett, both will reach the end of their terms this month.

Many in the audience held signs with messages about a school or the overall plan: "Fairhill: Educating minds since 1887," "Students Parents Teachers Demand a Moratorium," "Save Pepper!" and "The District is picking on North Philly. We will fight this to make sure our kids are safe and get a good education."

As the hours wore on, the crowd thinned out, but the anger didn't. Many speakers ignored the three-minute time limit. In a lengthy and bitter attack, West Philadelphia activist Pamela Williams berated the SRC for not consulting the community before making decisions -- before declaring her love for them.

Public testimony started at 6:30 p.m. Four hours later, the SRC was still listening to speakers and had not yet voted on any of the resolutions on its agenda except for two - approving a new career and technical education plan and acting to close Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School. When the last of the speakers wrapped up at 10:35, the commission zipped through its agenda of resolutions in just five minutes.

Additional reporting by Paul Socolar.

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Comments (38)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 18, 2013 7:51 am
Will Nutter reappoint Pritchett and Carey? Or just Pritchett since Carey is having health issues? Or will the March vote on 37 school closures be decided in part by two brand new SRC members who haven't had to sit through any of the community meetings? Or will the vote be carried out by just three members?
Submitted by Katie (not verified) on January 18, 2013 10:42 am
Who was the woman who kept time for the speakers? Everyone was whispering that she has had massive salary hikes in the midst of all these cuts- but I cannot find anything about that online.... Even more worrying- the community keeps citing federal law that is supposed to ensure a "free and unencumbered education" to children... and there is no such law. There are federal statutes prohibiting discrimination against disabled persons and one element of that law provides for a Free and Appropriate Education for disabled children (FAPE). There is no federal protection against privatizing the education system and creating a pay-as-you-go school system.... we've taken this "right" for granted. Also interesting, Pedro Ramos answered my question about why the city and state are not being held accountable for missing funds owed to the school system... he said that legislation is in the works to revamp sheriff sales and collect delinquent property taxes ( Within 5 years- the school district would have the funding it needs to keep these schools open... SO WHY CLOSE THEM NOW? Why declare a crisis now- when you will shortly have funding for this? Ramos would not respond to this- and was not enthused when I brought up the funding going to expand the prison system... nearly the exact amount being cut from the school budget: "the money being spent on prisons comes from the exact same place as funding for education and social services, and that’s Pennsylvania taxpayers. The big difference is that capital projects like the prison expansions are being funded through General Obligation Bonds, which means they are being funded with borrowed money. Not only are we spending $685 million on prison construction, but we will actually spend significantly more than that because we will be paying back that $685 million with interest. Our children will pay the price of these prisons - not just in this year’s budget and next year’s budget, but for decades to come. The money to pay back Pennsylvania’s debt does come out of the general fund, which means it is paid for with the same money that could be funding our schools instead. In this year’s budget alone, the state is spending almost $1.2 billion dollars to repay our debt. We are paying now for the prisons that were built in the 90s. And unless we stop this prison expansion, our children will be paying for these prisons for the next twenty years. " from: and
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 18, 2013 11:09 am
Regarding the pay raises, check out this article linked on the Notebook' "Notes from the news, Jan. 14" :
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 18, 2013 2:49 pm
Katie, Community members could cite the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania instead of the nonexistent federal law. See my post below. EGS
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 18, 2013 2:32 pm
In Article III of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there is the following section: Public School System Section 14. The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth. If neither the legislature nor the governor will approve more money for the School District of Philadelphia, then someone needs to file a lawsuit for more funding for the District because the current level of funding does not support a thorough system of public education. Education Grad Student
Submitted by Katie (not verified) on January 18, 2013 2:17 pm
Amen! HOw we we file a lawsuit?
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 18, 2013 3:24 pm
Katie, I don't know much about legal matters or how to file a lawsuit. However, in the State of Washington, parents filed a lawsuit on behalf of their children. See the lawsuit here: Here are articles about the McCleary lawsuit (McCleary et al. v. State of Washington): School-funding issue back in court 30 years after landmark case Court: WA Legislature failing at education funding Supreme Court: Wash. hasn't met duty for education I believe that provisions in Washington's constitution make education the "paramount duty" of the state ( Here is a website about school funding issues: Education Grad Student
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on January 19, 2013 1:33 pm

Efforts to get the courts in Pennsylvania to address inequities in school funding have failed, notably the decades long desegregation suit.   Given the political composition of the State Supreme Court the likelihood of a different outcome today is slim.   However a legal challenge linked to a broader political campaign could help make the case for funding. 

Submitted by tom-104 on January 19, 2013 4:56 pm
So we should do nothing? This has gone way beyond civil rights. Every school district in the state is financially distressed. The state government is not honoring its oath to uphold the state Constitution, Article 14 as quoted by Ed Grade Student above. A right wing court accepted Obama's health care law, so who knows? The past is no guide to fight the conditions that are coming down on us now. Part of any such law suit must be equitable funding for all school districts.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on January 19, 2013 5:50 pm

I didn't say do nothing, Tom.   Just pointing out the limits of that tactic.  In fact I  said it could be useful as part of a broader effort.    The courts are moved more by people in the streets and political action than by clever constitutional arguments.

Submitted by tom-104 on January 19, 2013 5:57 pm
OK, I just think we need both. The streets alone is not always successful either.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on January 19, 2013 6:53 pm

Agreed.   The streets, the ballot, and the courtroom.   My only reason for commenting is that some people, and I'm not assuming Ed. Grad. Student is one of them, have a somewhat naive faith in the justice system as a remedy.   

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 21, 2013 2:05 am
Tom, I understand your logic. However, wealthy school districts that receive less state funding would be unlikely to sue the state along with Philadelphia. The wealthier districts have a vested interest in the current funding formula because it keeps property taxes lower. If a wealthy districts have to share more with less affluent districts, via the state collecting and distributing the property tax dollars, these more affluent districts would have to raise property taxes to make up the difference. As we all know, raising taxes is usually an unpopular political move. EGS
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 21, 2013 2:03 am
*If wealthy districts*
Submitted by tom-104 on January 21, 2013 7:00 am
The property tax as a means to fund education is inherently unequal and a source of much social tension. It also favors wealthier school districts. There have been several legislative attempts to change this. The question of course is what system of funding would be be equitable. An income tax would be more fair, but once again the political situation makes that highly unlikely.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 21, 2013 4:54 pm
tom, Property taxes are highly inequitable. However, this is the system in place and in the current political situation in PA -- Republican legislature, Republican governor, and conservative Supreme Court -- it is unlikely to change. It's one thing to VERBALLY support equal opportunity in education. Most people support equal educational opportunity for K through 12. It's another thing entirely to ACTIVELY support equal opportunity through a willingness to pay more in taxes so that everyone has a fair shot. I suspect that many people say they believe in educational opportunity, but if it means higher taxes, they aren't so supportive of equal educational opportunity. Education Grad Student
Submitted by tom-104 on January 21, 2013 6:54 pm
We live in a changing economy and past experience is not necessarily a guide to what is possible. If we resign ourselves to pessimism and skepticism we may miss opportunities to change direction. There is a very good column in the Pittsburgh based Yinzeration which deals with this. It includes the following: "Pennsylvania also relies heavily on local property taxes to pay for schools: it falls in the bottom ten of all fifty states in the nation in the proportion of education funding provided at the state level, pushing responsibility instead down on local school districts. This exacerbates inequalities, as wealthier communities are able to afford adequately funded schools and poor communities struggle. Urban areas with high proportions of un-taxable non-profit and government owned property (such as Harrisburg) have been especially hard pressed to find the resources they need for schools. As a result, some poor districts actually wind up taxing their residents at an even higher rate than wealthier areas. Deindustrialization, which has hit Pennsylvania’s rust belt towns particularly hard, has drained population from many urban centers, increasing the burden on remaining residents to pay for infrastructure such as schools (just look at what is happening in Duquesne). And white flight to suburban areas has hardened residential racial segregation. Funding inequalities, then, have reinforced both the effects of poverty and trenchant racial disparities, contributing to a persistent racial achievement gap. Let’s remember that 26% of all children aged birth to age five are now living in poverty. That’s over a quarter of our kids. And the connection between poverty and education is crucial: we know that middle class students in the U.S. attending well-resourced public schools actually rank at the top of tests with our international peers. [For more, see “Poverty and Public Education”]"
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 21, 2013 10:56 pm
I'm not being cynical, but realistic. In the current political environment with a Republican governor and legislature, equitable funding of education won't happen. Republicans don't believe in equitable funding. That said, a change in the composition of the legislature and governorship after the next election can make change possible when it comes to equitable funding.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 21, 2013 11:05 pm
Pennsylvania's legislature is twice the size of states with comparable populations. (A state rep. represents far less than a member of City Council). They are also handsomely paid for "part time" work. (Their perks alone could outfit most classrooms with an assistant plus materials.) The districts are also gerrymandered. With each census, those in power in Harrisburg make sure they keep their districts. Yes, I'm cynical when it comes to Harrisburg. We have to get rid of Corbett and then the Legislature will be a bit more flexible. Cuts in education funding don't just hurt cities - they also hurt rural areas. There needs to be a public school coalition with urban and rural schools to challenge the PA Legislature.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on January 21, 2013 11:26 pm

While there is not yet the political will to enact the kind of structural reforms we all probably agree are needed to fund education in an equitable way, there is a real opportunity to build a state wide coalition that can mobilize around opposiiton to the Corbett austerity regime and advocate for more funding by closing tax loopholes for corporations, stopping prison construction and other progressive measures.   Cities, inner ring suburbs and rural areas are all suffering and an agressive organizing effort by labor and advocates for human services could make a difference.   Gains could be made in this year's budget and lay the groundwork for ousting Corbett and  altering the balance of power in Harrisburg in the next state election.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on January 22, 2013 12:36 am
This was the Jan. 17 headline in the Allentown Morning Call - "Allentown school taxes could go up more than 9% Allentown superintendent will do a staffing study that could lead to layoffs." The pain caused by the Corbett Administration's bowing to natural gas companies and corporate tax "give outs" (including his voucher program), and desire to privatize everything across the state is affecting, as you wrote, the cities, inner ring suburbs and rural areas across the Commonwealth. Getting rid of Corbett is possible. He will have his parochial school supporters, corporate supporters, etc. but if my conservative Pennsylvania relatives are any indication, Corbett has gone too far. They also are looking for an alternative.
Submitted by tom-104 on January 21, 2013 11:00 pm
Please watch the PBS American Experience series "The Abolitionists". Where would we be today if they had been "realistic"?
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 21, 2013 2:36 am
Hi Ron, I suspected that someone or some organization had attempted to challenge the school funding equities, but I just wanted to ask. I also suspected that the current composition of the State Supreme Court would make a ruling that favors more equitable funding unlikely. Thanks for the clarification. The next question would be, is there an avenue to challenge school funding in federal court? Has anyone tried that? Education Grad Student
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 21, 2013 2:41 am
school funding inequities*
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on January 21, 2013 11:01 am

I'm guessing here but I suspect, since school funding is regarded as a local and state responsbility, federal court challenges have probably focused on Title 1, an important but secondary source.   We should get Education Law Center and PILCOP to weigh in on what legal avenues might be fruitful.  

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 21, 2013 1:47 pm
I have been reading your dialogue about possible legal actions with a sparkle in my eye. Especially since I have recently done some federal litigation pursuant to the Civil Rights Act and the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" and "due process" clauses. I read the Washington state case cited by EGS the other day and some of the other federal actions related to what is going on in cities throughout America. As an attorney who is going to develop my second life as an educational advocate, I have developed a keen interest in those issues. The issue of a "Free Appropriate Public Education" will become a hotly contested civil rights issue at the federal level and the state level. So will equal funding suits emerge and the discriminatory nature of the rights of minority populations to participate meaningfully in the governance of their public schools. The Civil Rights Act does apply and so do both the U.S. and state constitutions. This will especially become a major issue in light of the recent court decisions on the question of whether charter schools are public schools or private schools, and exactly what rights do students, parents, community members and teachers have in those schools. There are a Pandora's box of legal issues being opened and litigated. The problem is they are complex issues which require large amounts of legal research, time and expense to litigate. The issues are not going away any time soon either. I am particularly interested in following what is going on in Chester. The "elected school board" sued Corbett and PA in federal court to force Corbett to fund Chester's public schools. After the school board won, Corbett had Tomalis act to take the district over and appointed their own man to run the district. They used the new distressed schools legislation to take over the district. It is obviously retaliatory in nature and they plan to turn the district over to a "receiver" and then privatize the whole district. The only power of the elected board will be to raise taxes to turn over to the privatized district. There are serious constitutional issues involved. These are issues which are appropriately raised on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King who gave up his life fighting for the rights of minority populations. I suggest that we take today to honor Dr. King and what he stood for. The issues he died for are squarely before us today. We need to think deeply about those issues and what they mean to all of us as Americans.
Submitted by Katie (not verified) on January 25, 2013 3:18 pm
Would you take a case like this? Alternatively, there are many non-profit law firms we could turn to in order to bring a case...all we have to do is fill out a potential case form: Go to their website and check out their cases on "school choice." Their number is (703) 682-9320 ext. 290. You will probably speak to an assistant, who will get your information and get back to you after a lawyer reviews it. If they decide not to take your case, make sure to ask them for a referral to another nonprofit law firm that takes school choice cases. The right to an education is usually established in a state's constitution. Below are a number of cases I found with language that supports this notion. (I am not qualified nor am I legally allowed to give you advice. The information below is public information. Ha! Dumb disclaimers!) Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 584, 95 S. Ct. 729, 741, 42 L. Ed. 2d 725, 95 (1975). See also, e.g., Anderson v. Hillsborough County School Bd., 390 Fed. Appx. 902, 903, 262 Ed. Law Rep. 121 (11th Cir. 2010) (“Florida's constitution and statutory law creates a right to a public education, and federal law treats that right as a property or liberty interest protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”); Porter v. Ascension Parish School Bd., 393 F.3d 608, 194 Ed. Law Rep. 497 (5th Cir. 2004) (students have a protectable property interest in public education);Seal v. Morgan, 229 F.3d 567, 754, 148 Ed. Law Rep. 34, 2000 FED App. 0358P (6th Cir. 2000); Christy v. McCalla, 79 So. 3d 293, 299, 2011-0366, 276 Ed. Law Rep. 1096 (La. 2011) (“a child has an interest, rooted in the constitution, ‘in not being stigmatized by suspension’ or expulsion”); J.K. ex rel. Kaplan v. Minneapolis Public Schools (Special School District No. 1), 849 F. Supp. 2d 865, 871 (D. Minn. 2011) (Minnesota guarantees an education to students such as plaintiff and due process protects students' property interest in a public education); Lindsey v. Matayoshi, 2012 WL 1656931, *3 (D. Haw. 2012) (students in Hawaii have a protected interest in their public education as provided by Hawaii Revised Statutes); S.B. ex rel. Brown v. Ballard County Bd. of Educ., 2011 WL 381767, at *4 (W.D. Ky. 2011) (“The Commonwealth of Kentucky has recognized the fundamental right to a public education for all of its citizens” as such “[o]ne's right to a free public education under Kentucky law is a property right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.”); Bell v. Pennsbury School Dist., 2011 WL 292241, at *6 (E.D. Pa. 2011) (“Under Pennsylvania law, [a child] is entitled to a free public education.”); Vann ex rel. Vann v. Stewart, 445 F. Supp. 2d 882, 888, 212 Ed. Law Rep. 746 (E.D. Tenn. 2006) (stating “it is undoubted that a Tennessee high school student enjoys a property interest in his high school education”); D.L. v. Warsaw Community Schools, 2006 WL 1195215, *4 (N.D. Ind. 2006); Waln By and Through Waln v. Todd County School Dist., 2005 DSD 17, 388 F. Supp. 2d 994, 1000, 203 Ed. Law Rep. 594 (D.S.D. 2005) (state laws of South Dakota establish a right to a public education); D.F. v. Board of Education of Syosset Central School Dist., 386 F. Supp.2d 119, 126 (E.D. N.Y. 2005) ("student has a constitutionally protected property interest in education" and due process must be given before that right is taken away for misconduct) (citing Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 574, 95 S. Ct. 729, 42 L. Ed. 2d 725 (1975)); Cohn v. New Paltz Central School Dist., 363 F. Supp.2d 421, 432 (N.D. N.Y. 2005) (New York state constitutional provision requiring the state to provide children with a free public education establishes a protected property interest in education for students); Tun ex rel. Tun v. Fort Wayne Community Schools, 326 F. Supp. 2d 932, 942, 190 Ed. Law Rep. 824 (N.D. Ind. 2004), decision rev'd on other grounds, 398 F.3d 899 (7th Cir. 2005) (student has property interest in his free public education). Cf. Burreson v. Barneveld School Dist, 434 F. Supp. 2d 588, 594, 210 Ed. Law Rep. 1112 (W.D. Wis. 2006) (student who missed three or four classes when he was called to the office to participate in a police investigation was not deprived of his right to receive an education, as a deprivation occurs when students are barred from all educational programming).
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 26, 2013 8:03 am
Hi Katie: I thought a while before answering your question because I do not use this site to seek business for my law practice and certainly do not discuss individual cases in a public forum. I enter discussions here to put "ideas on the table" which I have written about and believe in. But my theme lately has been "we need to be 'honest' about what is happening ." So this is my answer: Yes. I enjoy fighting for the rights of students, parents teachers and educators, including legitimate charter school leaders who lead charter schools for the right reasons. I have developed an expertise in civil rights and constitutional litigation and try to read every case I can which is relevant to the issues of public education, freedom of speech and thought, and due process. I believe the greatest civil rights issue of our times is not just the right to a good education, but goes much deeper than that -- the civil rights issue of our times is the right of every American child and their parents to a "Free Appropriate Public Education" with an emphasis on the "Appropriate and Public" education. Which, of course, contain the issues of equal education for all and the right of the public to "participate in the governance of our public schools." I would very much love to serve as the lead counsel in a significant suit which would improve the state of education in our city, our state and our nation and assert the rights of the people to "public education." I would also enjoy being part of a legal team who represents citizens in a suit to assert public rights and rights of individual citizens. However, a lawyer can not just file a suit. A lawyer must represent an individual or a group who has "standing" to sue and whether issues are "actionable" at any given time. Individuals or "associations" have standing to sue in those cases only if their constitutional rights or civil rights have been violated or if they can hold themselves out as somehow representing a significant number of people who have public rights. So the short answer is yes -- for the right people who are fighting for the right reasons. I love the profession of teaching and learning and would like to participate in the "rebirth and renewal of the School District of Philadelphia" and reform it into a leader in "free appropriate public education" which serves the "best interests of all students and our community." It is not just democracy in education which is at stake here -- it is democracy itself.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 18, 2013 7:49 pm
Evelyn Sample-Oates received a 49% pay increase from Dr. Hite.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 18, 2013 8:30 pm
This was brought up at the Sayre meeting I believe and they said they weren't raises but rather people changed positions and so their salaries changed. TOTALLY DIFFERENT, RIGHT?! Terribly tone-deaf in this economy where so many people have personally experienced "promotions" without salaries increases.
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on January 18, 2013 10:46 pm
That makes one say "well shut my mouth...."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 19, 2013 5:16 pm
Do you think that they will really close all of the schools listed, or is there a possibility that they will put this off for one more year? Thank you, A Teacher (at a school designated for closing)
Submitted by tom-104 on January 19, 2013 6:00 pm
Part of the SRC mode of operation is to make the worst case scenario and then give back just a little. They did this last year when they said they were going to close eight schools, but ended up closing six. It's a common collective bargaining tactic. Propose drastic cuts and when you restore some the workers are relieved the cuts aren't as bad as first proposed. We live in unprecedented times though, so nothing is guaranteed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 19, 2013 7:04 pm
Last year closed 8 but said 10 - don't forget the four turned charter
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on January 20, 2013 3:25 am
Having left Pepper, I can say this. We were initially told 2012, 2016, 2014 and then/ have right back to 2012. That and the fact repairs to the building having came to a complete halt is why I put in to transfer since I have anywhere from 15 to 20 years before I can retire. Linda K.
Submitted by Pam (not verified) on January 20, 2013 8:05 am
I'm some what confused - the district is complaining about money and closing 37 schools yet they are allowing Mastery Charter open a new elementary school in September --- very confused.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 20, 2013 9:30 am
Last year, the SRC agreed to expanding charter school "seats" at many charter schools. For example, Feire Charter was allowed to open a middle school this year in Center City - not an area of the city needing more middle school "seats." Boys Latin Charter is also opening a 5 - 8 school in addition to their 9- 12 school. Performing Arts Charter is allowed to open a 1400 seat high school in 2013-2014 - while closing numerous high schools. (Performing Arts, as I understand it, is allowed to open in South Philly - their current location - but was encouraged to consider North Philly.) Nueva Esperanza was allowed to expand AND open a cyber school. Ramos has close ties with Nueva Esperanza. The argument, by the SRC, appears to be "parent demand." But, if a school does not exist, how is there a demand? I think the biggest demand is the charter have the ability to control enrollment - even schools with a lottery can pick and chose students and have requirements for enrollment / admission than no neighborhood enjoys. Boys Latin has many hoops to jump through before an application may be submitted. The SRC renewed the charter contract for World Communications Charter - a center city middle/high school. Its PSSA scores were some of the lowest in Phila. It has a history of nepotism and financial improprieties. Yet, Mr. Kihn and the SRC this fall gave them another 5 years. There is no logic behind their decisions other than the SRC is committed to privatizing education and believes the rhetoric of the "business model" of the Walton Fd., Gates Fd., Broad Fd., etc. (Both candidates for Superintendent of Schools this year were Broad Fd. graduates. Ackerman was also part of the Broad Fd. Gates is funding the so-called "collaboration" between charters, public, parochial and private schools in Phila.)
Submitted by Pam (not verified) on January 20, 2013 11:13 am
thank you

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