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A coalition wants to stop charter expansion. District chief says he does too.

By Paul Jablow on Jan 25, 2013 04:51 PM

Her neighborhood school was targeted for closing, and Dawn Hawkins was angry. As she confronted Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite at a community meeting, she was clear about one reason why.

“You’re saying the charter schools are better,” shouted Hawkins, a parent leader in the community organization Action United and the parent of a 7th grader at L.P. Hill School in Strawberry Mansion. “My son gets straight As and Bs at that school. The staff and teachers care about my son in that school. ... Guess what. We can get some paint, we can get some computers, we can get some extra teachers...”

“I am not saying charter schools are better,” replied Hite, his trademark calm voice rising over the restless buzz of the auditorium at Dobbins High School. “Here’s what I am saying: that 60,000 parents are making the decision to send their children to [charter] schools.

“We are trying to make our schools better so that when people are making choices about schools, they’re choosing District schools. We must do that. But we cannot do that if we’re carrying 53,000 empty seats.”

Hawkins is not alone in her concerns about charter growth and its effect on the traditional neighborhood school.

Those concerns range from the flow of money and students out of the District to the charters’ success in tapping outside funds that the District has been unable to obtain.

In its December alternative to the District’s closing plan, the recently formed Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) proposed stopping charter expansion and closing all charters that don’t show “superior” educational performance and an “innovative educational model.”

That’s not the path the School District is now on.

The District’s five-year financial plan provides for a $100 million increase in spending on charter schools in 2013-14 – and over five years, a $222 million, or 38 percent, increase in charter spending.

As the School Reform Commission was reauthorizing and expanding charters last spring, the District revealed that it anticipated adding 13,450 more charter seats over five years. The SRC approved about 5,400 new charter seats last year alone.

However, Hite himself keeps telling audiences he wants to stop the loss of District students to charters.

In a recent interview, he said that with some 30 percent of its students attending charters, the District is “at almost a natural saturation. ... We have to rethink using charter seats that may not be adding value ... and how we re-craft those charter seats into something different. We have to do better charter authorizing.”

Hite has also proposed that the District create a school for online learning to compete with the growing number of cyber charters.

A District spokesman declined to respond as to whether Hite would ask the SRC to take any other specific steps to slow charter growth. The SRC has acted to cap some charter enrollments but has closed down just two charters in the past decade; four more are in various stages of the closing process now.

Where charters drain students

The school Dawn Hawkins was defending, L. P. Hill, appears in some ways typical of the city’s struggling neighborhood schools, with declining enrollments and low test scores. It has met state standards for adequate yearly progress just once in the past nine years. But it is unusual in that just 10 percent of the students in its catchment area have enrolled in charter schools.

A review by the Notebook of District data indicated that at nearly half the District’s elementary schools - 78 out of 163 - at least 20 percent of neighborhood students are instead enrolling in a charter. That could mean either a stand-alone, conventional charter or a turnaround “Renaissance” school that serves a neighborhood catchment area but is run by charter operators.

Even more middle and high school students leave for charters.

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, charter enrollment in Philadelphia is the fourth largest in the country, behind New Orleans, Los Angeles and New York. The city now has 84 charters.

But charters are hardly the only path out of the neighborhood schools.

Strawberry Mansion High School, also slated for closing, enrolls less than 20 percent of the high school students in its catchment area. Almost 40 percent are enrolled in charter schools. But an equal number have chosen different in-District options: other neighborhood schools, citywide admission, or special admission schools.

lori shorr​Lori Shorr, chief education officer for Mayor Nutter, said that the reasons for the flight to charters are clear. “The good charters have been very nimble, they’ve been innovative, and they’ve been mission-driven,” she said. “They’re not part of a larger bureaucracy. The best ones have been very good in creating a culture inside the school where they believe, ‘We own this school, along with the parents. We’re responsible for the outcomes.’"

“Plenty of [traditional] public schools have been able to do it, but it’s against the tide. That’s one of the reasons we’re talking about more autonomy, trying to create that culture of accountability.”

Shorr is not alarmed at predictions by the District that 40 percent of its students will be in charters in five years.

“I don’t think I see it as desirable or undesirable,” she said. “We need to think in terms of which schools are doing a good job with kids. If that’s in charters and that leads to 40 percent, that’s what it is.” She said that Philadelphia’s charters aren’t attracting just public school students: About one third of their students come from outside the District, mostly the Catholic system.

Others see a threat

Many educational observers are more skeptical. They see charters as unproven over the long haul, a drain on traditional neighborhood schools, and potentially a threat to public education itself.

“It’s diverted resources from traditional public schools,” said Craig Robbins, executive director of Action United, a member of the PCAPS coalition.

“They were originally conceived as laboratories for innovation, and no one’s opposed to that. But it shouldn’t be what it’s become.”

Robbins is particularly critical of the majority of charters that do not function as neighborhood schools. He said that no matter how these schools might try to recruit a diverse student body, the application process favors motivated families, leaving behind students who desperately need strengthened neighborhood schools. The coalition has also questioned whether many charters adequately serve special education and ELL students and students with disciplinary issues.

Another person who has growing concerns about charters is David Hornbeck, who was District superintendent from 1994 to 2000.

“I bought into the idea that they might be an arena in which new and different things could be tried,” he said. “The bloom came off the rose relatively quickly. It was evident fairly early on that if any of them showed exceptional merit in practice, it was the exception and not the rule.”

Hornbeck is more optimistic about charters that function as neighborhood schools and thus don’t have a complicated application process.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan is less concerned with that distinction, saying, “It’s not a level playing field in a lot of areas.” He cited the greater interest in charter schools by the business community and the Philadelphia School Partnership, which has raised more than $50 million in grants, mostly for charters.

Jordan recalled a visit to Mastery Charter School’s Shoemaker campus on a tour with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “They had totally changed the building.” Jordan said. “It was painted, it was bright. If the public schools had that money, they could do the same things.”

Still, the tension in the system is not as simple as charters vs. neighborhood schools.

Former administrator James M. “Torch” Lytle, now a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, noted that the move away from Philadelphia’s neighborhood schools predates the charter movement by decades. Federal desegregation money under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 helped create schools that would be attractive to mixed populations.

Lytle said that the charter school movement is accelerating this trend, with the business community heavily involved. He can envision a future in which charter schools are acquired and managed by large educational chains.

“I’m concerned that Philadelphia is being whacked into small pieces,” he said. “Philadelphia is seen in the venture capital world as a place to watch.”

 

Paul Jablow is a freelance journalist and a regular contributor to the Notebook.

Benjamin Herold also contributed to this story.

 

Photo: Lori Shorr, chief education officer for Mayor Nutter (Harvey Finkle)

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Comments (49)

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on January 25, 2013 5:03 pm
a system of charter chains will be no different than the district, bureaucratic bastions that honor procedures above results. independent charter schools are the most responsive to the communities they serve. they create unique educational enclaves where innovation is essential. the big chains will be targets of unionization. whether those efforts are successful or not, they will surely be disruptive and expensive.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 25, 2013 8:32 pm
Charter schools are about 25% of politicians cash money on the side and the CEO's investment of cash all at the expense of Philadelphia property tax owners. If charter schools are so great let the founders raise a 100% of their revenue to run them like the universites do. Let Philadelphia public schools receive their due share of state money and let the Philadelphia property tax go soley to public schools, then you will see about a 65% turnaround of success. If 37 schools are closing to save 28 million dollars as the SRC proclaims then 17 million dollars will go to charter schools falsely claiming greater education. The parents of the city of Philadelphia who are taxpayers and the unions should fight this vigorously.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on January 27, 2013 2:15 pm
Excellent post. You, my comrade, see the forest through the trees. None of this is about kids' best interests. All of it is about money making, easy and abundant, for the politically hooked up and the super rich having their collective back. Little by little, the truth is coming out for all to see.
Submitted by Iorea (not verified) on May 12, 2013 8:10 am
I agree with you too. These kind of posts increase GK and let us broaden our thinking capacities. I would also like to thank. Keep it up. Good Humor Quotes
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 5:39 am
Funny how all the conspiracy theorists talking about corporate money can completely ignore the corrupting influence of the $10's of millions teachers unions give politicians every cycle, complimented by a massive full time lobbying efforts at every government level. So the real complaint is the union money has a little competition and just doesn't buy the politicians like it used to. Boo hoo.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on January 28, 2013 1:13 pm
Are you as dumb as you write ?? OR, is this Scotty " 2 Shoes" again??
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on January 28, 2013 4:08 pm
when you can't attack the argument, attack the writer's ability. dumb is thinking your tantrum will stop the closures that need to happen if the district is ever to right its ship.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 3:54 am
Attacking the writer for a spelling error is just Joe's online version thuggery. In person, such a type would probably punch you for being a smartass by pointing out the obvious $10's of millions of union money used to buy politicians and gain special priveleges. Assault & vandalism are the union way in Philly. Look no further than the Friends meetinghouse up in Chestnut hill this month. No sense trying to reason with the criminal mentality. The funny thing is when such a person fancies themselves "smart". Maybe too many trophies for finishing last as a kid?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 8:59 am
Wow. I looked back to find the "spelling attack". You really stretched the truth to get your anti-union/anti-Joe opinion in. I am a big fan of Joe. He speaks a truth that even our union has been unwilling to articulate. So Joe has not been simply a union apologist. He is often quite frustrated with our union leadership. These times call for courageous people to speak out. Sometimes courageous statements have an edge. This is true for Joe at times. Your "edge" just went way over the edge.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on January 29, 2013 8:51 am
There must be another Joe. I have no idea what you're talking about.
Submitted by funny quotes (not verified) on February 11, 2013 7:01 am
Well Paul Jablow i really appreciate the way you thoroughly wrote it.. it has been an excellent post indeed keep sharing this kinda informative post indeed. funny quotes
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on May 12, 2013 10:25 am
They will be successful. People understand the power of unions and they want and need it.
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on January 25, 2013 6:27 pm
that jerry jordan hates charters is certainly not news. what is interesting is the audacity of david hornbeck to weigh in on charters. his ineptitude singularly created the conditions that lead to the passage of both the charter school and the state-takeover laws. it was hornbeck who first attempted (unsuccessfully of course) to close district schools. the most important point in this article is where lytle said that the exodus from the neighborhood schools began well before the concept of charters was thought of by ray budde in the 1980s. there may be some who are happy with strawberry mansion, but the overwhelming majority of the people in that neighborhood chose another school for their children. the neighborhood lost a vote of confidence 85%-15%. when you consider that the district closed rhodes and fitzsimons which should have expanded the student pool, it speaks volumes about the quality of education offered there. not every school, but many of those recommended for closure have similar credentials. and with all due respect to mr. jordan, it'll take more than a new coat of paint and new lights to fix them.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 27, 2013 11:41 pm
Instead of campaigning against charter schools, Jerry Jordan and the PFT should be looking at what charter schools do well and try to implement those effective practices in traditional public schools. For example, enforce the uniform policy and help implement a positive behavioral support system for the entire school. Make changes come from the ground up, not the top down.
Submitted by Annoy (not verified) on January 28, 2013 3:10 am
Ed Grad STudent - I realize you don' t have high school experience, but the Philly high schools that are considered "top" performers (Central, Masterman, SLA, etc.) do not have a uniform policy. Students wear whatever they want to wear. The high schools with strict uniform policies are the Promise Academies and most neighborhood schools. The performance of the schools has no connection to the uniform - it is because who is allowed to attend the schools. Also, my experience with K-8 charters is the discipline policy is extremely rigid - if you don't get with the program you are on a track for dismissal. Neighborhood schools don' t have this luxury. (This doesn't mean some neighborhood schools do not need a new behavior model - many do - but the rigid charter model doesn't necessarily fit.)
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on January 28, 2013 6:13 am
this is why there eventually will be no district schools. they always have a reason why they can't implement even the smallest change. this too explains jerry and the pft. they don't want any change so they come up with straw arguments and conspiracies to divert attention from the fact that they are obstructionists.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 12, 2013 11:26 am
You sound like an administrative shil with such statements. Who do think has been trying to enforce the uniform policies for years? It's the administrators who look the other way and make excuses for not enforcing the district rules. It is the top who makes the rules and then forbid teachers from carrying them out. If you want public schools to be like charter schools then allow us to jettison troublemakers the way the charters do day in and out. You really come off sounding like someone who has little real teaching experience in Philly when you post nonsense like the above.
Submitted by tom-104 on January 25, 2013 6:35 pm
This article quotes Hite as saying, "I am not saying charter schools are better. Here’s what I am saying: that 60,000 parents are making the decision to send their children to [charter] schools." We are being set-up. I guarantee you that come fall, all of these parents who are faced with the prospect of having their children travel long distances to school or older students going in to the unsafe environment of combined high schools, will be bombarded with charters wanting to recruit their children. This will be used to say, "Parents are making the decision to send their children to charter schools." and therefore we need more "seats". Many of the schools being closed have good attendance and have consistently made AYP. The same thing was done under Vallas and Ackerman. Finance Director Masch held community meetings where he showed the school budget where resources were being poured into charters, Renaissance Schools, and Promise Academies while showing that the public schools were being starved for resources. This is why parents "made the decision to send their children to charter schools". Last July the SRC allocated $139 million for 5,416 new seats in existing charter schools. http://thenotebook.org/blog/125008/price-charter-expansion-so-far-139-mi... A few months later they say we have to close 37 schools to "save" $28 million. Why wasn't the $139 million put towards to fixing these community schools which the community meetings show the parents do not want closed? If a communities school building is too old, build a new building! Just don't do what Vallas did and turn over the new building to a charter (Audenreid).
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 25, 2013 6:29 pm
But many aren't even making AYP With the way they have finally made charters to share their assessment data the way the district has to so what does everyone say to that!
Submitted by Dawn Hawkins parent leader -Action United (not verified) on January 25, 2013 10:01 pm
NO CHARTER SCHOOLS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 26, 2013 2:19 am
When charters were made to share assessment data like districts more charters made AYP. The recent change took charters back to the old way of making AYP. To be fair either way charters made AYP at more than twice the rate of district schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 11:16 pm
Please site your source for this assertion.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 27, 2013 8:17 am
Sorry Lori, I do not agree with anything you are quoted as saying above. WhIle I do recognize appreciate what some charter schools do for children and some are run by credible leaders, there is no evidence that any charter schools are innovative at all. There is more evidence that charter schools, as a group, are not fulfilling the mission of what charter schools were supposed to do. There is no evidence at all that they are more responsive to and inclusive of parents and there is no study at all which shows that charter schools give parents, teachers, and students a better sense of "ownership" of those schools. The major issue with our charter schools is that many of them are not operating as "public schools" but are operating as little businesses for the benefit of those who operate them. There are no parent led charter schools in Philadelphia and there are no teacher led charter schools at all. There are no teacher led schools in Philadelphia's regular schools anymore either. The whole purpose of charter schools was to have them led by teachers, parents or school communities and have them be in control of the learning program. Today there are no charter schools run that way. A question you and the Mayor need to answer is -- Why are you only supporting the "charter operator model" rather than the creation of additional "true charter schools?" Another question is -- Why are you not focusing on making charter schools operate as true public schools with open and transparent policies? Lori, while you recite the original "charter school philosophy" well, the vast majority of commenters report that is not what is really happening, and of course, you do not have any "research based evidence" to support what you said above -- none. Perhaps, you and the mayor should have read the copies of Diane Ravitch's Death and Life of the Great American School System which I presented to you at the SRC meeting last fall, rather than give the copies back to me as you did. The truth is Lori, I have never seen our school district, in my 38 years of service to the district and its children, in such a state of devastation.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on January 27, 2013 2:13 pm
Rich--You should have placed those copies where the sun don't shine. I didn't know their ignorance was so stunning. Surely, even you must have seen red when they did that !! In any case, Lori and, of course, Nutter are not interested in having an even playing field but who didn't know that ?? Philly folks need to read what their counterparts 120 miles South, think of Hite and his honesty. To paraphrase one of them, "Hite only lies when his lips move." My overall sense is that the tide is turning a bit in the favor of the good guys. I agree with the above that Hite is trying to set us up with his jibberish. He has a little Pontius Pilate in him, playing innocuous and supportive to a hostile crowd.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 27, 2013 4:19 pm
Joe, the truth is that Torch is exactly right in his statements quoted above: "He can envision a future in which charter schools are acquired by large educational chains. 'I'm concerned that Philadelphia is being whacked into small pieces,' he said. 'Philadelphia is seen in the venture capital world as a place to watch.' " I am jealous that I could not say it so simply.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2013 4:13 pm
I agree--Torch said it all in a couple sentences. Jealousy is a terrible thing, at least, that's what I've heard. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I guess that's why Torch is at Penn and I'm trying to slither into Delaware County CC.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 29, 2013 8:48 am
The statement about jealousy about his saying it so simply was a figure of speech meant humorously. Torch and I go way back to University City H.S. in the 1990's. He was the principal there who actually did "turn around" Uni and made it the leader of the Small Learning Community movement in Philadelphia which is still replicated in most every large high school in Philadelphia today. I entitled a chapter in my book after him and what he did to turn around Uni when he was sent there after the principal had been removed because the school had descended into what is known as a "toxic school climate." He turned that climate around by creating a collaborative and innovative culture at Uni and allowed teachers to create new SLC's designed to meet the needs of the students. The chapter is entitled: "Torch" -- Rebellion and Toxic School Cultures. It describes how Torch led the school collaboratively to change the climate from toxic to energetic and productive. The chapter shows how what is known as "laissez-faire" leadership can be used as a powerful motivator of school communities. I also used that chapter as evidence that "toxic school cultures" are created by the management of the school and not by the teachers. Which is, of course, directly opposite to the rationale of "reconstitution" of schools which places the blame solely on the teachers, when in reality, it is the management that is dysfunctional.
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on January 29, 2013 3:09 pm
38 years! so you must take some responsibilty for the condition of the district.
Submitted by Kevin Parker (not verified) on January 27, 2013 10:43 am
"Innovative" should mean developing new approaches to helping students in poverty, special education, and/or English-language leaners. But charters don't admit or retain those students. "Nimble" should mean allowing staff the resources, time, and authority to respond to classroom challenges as they see fit. But charters don't compensate or retain staff long enough to develop as professionals (nor do they want to: too expensive). "Mission-driven" should mean educating all children as party of a community - narrowly defined as a neighborhood and broadly defined as the city. Shorr unwittingly admits this when she points out that the draw up to a third of their students from outside the city. If you want to do that, be honest and call yourself a private school. Just don't expect me to contribute as a volunteer, taxpayer, or citizen to your "success." Why can't we follow Cincinnati's example rather than New Orleans? The only ones to profit (pun intended) will be testing companies and venture capitalists.
Submitted by Ken Derstine on January 27, 2013 4:37 pm
You are correct Rich that Lori Shorr has no evidence for her claims about charters. They think that they have starved the public schools long enough, and parents are so frustrated with the condition of the public schools, that parents will accept without question their baseless claims for charters. Ironic considering that the corporate reformers started their attempt at privatization with claims that their decisions on school closures and charters are data driven. There is evidence all over the country that there is a change going on in the acceptance of the agenda that has been put out by the corporate reformers. This editorial is just one example from today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Sub-par options: Charter schools as a class don't measure up http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/sub-par-options-c...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2013 6:33 pm
One charter that was started by families and now has a corporate board made up primarily of TFA alum and business people is Independence Charter. As most parents left the Board, the positions were filled with TFA / business people. The school began using benchmark tests and has a former TFA as the head of "achievement." It is becoming Mastery. This is not the fault nor decision of the teachers - they are "at will" employees who take the brunt of the administration. So, even a charter that started with a different agenda has been consumed by the corporate model.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2013 7:31 pm
I think parents see with their own two eyes and vote with their feet. You don't give parents enough credit. It's sad to see because both Democrats and Republicans support charters which tells you that it's the PFT in this city that has blinders on!!
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 28, 2013 10:40 am
My experience would back your statement: We have children from many different schools where I volunteer on Saturdays. I have asked students and parents at charters their opinion of their school. So far, they have responded positively. Students say the atmosphere is better than what they experienced at their former traditional school. Parents say they are getting more responsiveness and accountability from the administration. None are saying what a relief it is to get away from the "bad behavior" children or how much more resources the charters have. It would appear they are simply getting better service from the administration. These families are indeed intelligent and involved in their children's education. They take on the task of bringing their children to Temple on a Saturday morning - not an easy one at all. None are wealthy - all qualify for financial assistance, many making less as a family than the starting salary of a teacher. Ultimately if the charters aren't doing any better, they certainly aren't doing any worse. In addition they are responding to involved parents/caregivers whereas the PSD is not. This haughtiness towards parents and caregivers at the PSD has nothing to do with a conspiracy; It is instead a sense of entitlement as an entrenched institution.
Submitted by JUDITH ROBINSON (not verified) on January 29, 2013 9:15 am
Please !! Dont't go there- Temple I mean... Yes ,TEMPLE managed many of the North Philly schools proposed to be CLOSED... Temple SELLS EDUCATION !! STOP THE NONSENSE ! African American children have Always , had problem acquiring an education in USA. SET SOME STANDARDS All youth reading on grade level by 2015 If not ,a plan to address Support teacher development classroom management Parent involvement
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 29, 2013 9:11 am
Temple has different schools. The College of Music (which does not manage schools) is excellent. Terrell Stafford is the chair of Instrumental Studies; and yes, he is African American. All of the children who participate in the Community Music Scholars Program are part of their school's band or string ensemble program(s), and bring back to their school what they learn. Many acquire skills that enable them to participate in All City, District, Regional, State, and beyond (Eastern Seaboard) ensembles. Because the children are predominantly from the PSD, though the program is also open to private school students (entry is through audition), they are predominantly African American. They aren't having any more trouble learning than any of their peers there. I would not tell parents not to use resources "in their own back yard". A majority of the funding for CMSP comes from private donors, and none of them advertise who they are or require any acknowledgement for their donations. The program also benefits the Temple students who are learning through giving to the community.
Submitted by commode table à langer (not verified) on August 30, 2013 4:31 pm
A person essentially help to make critically posts I might state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual post amazing. Great process!
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on January 28, 2013 1:29 pm
Yes, you are correct. The big question is, are they being sent to a better school or not ?? The facts--pesky little things that they are-- indicate that charters are not as good by and large. Politicians, rascals that they usually are, will follow the money all day, every day like flies on poop. Actually, flies have more integrity and are generally smarter too.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 27, 2013 6:22 pm
My concern with the expansion of charters has to do with unfair competition. Some charters don't accept certain children, e.g. those with special needs or of low SES. Examples are The Lab School and Greenwoods CS. Thus, this makes the population of neighborhood public schools, generally speaking, harder to educate and more expensive to educate than the population in the charters. Another issue is that because charters draw students out of private--namely Catholic--schools, the population of students attending the District is increasing. At the same time, the state is cutting money to the District. From a financial standpoint, the District should not want more seats in charters because more seats means more children whose education is publicly funded. For many years, the District was used to a certain percentage of the students not costing much to educate. The District pays a little bit of money to Catholic schools for Title I and busing, but it's a small amount of the per-pupil amount. When there were no charter schools or fewer charter schools, tuition at private (most of them Catholic) schools was more affordable because there were more students. With fewer students, private schools in the city have had to raise tuition. As tuition has risen, a vicious cycle ensues whereby the higher cost of tuition encourages or forces more and more parents to put their children in charter or public schools. Unfortunately, many of the charter schools do not provide the same kind of education as the Catholic schools. At a school at which a parent pays tuition, they have quite a bit of clout, more than they do at a charter school. The lack of tuition makes many parents opt for charter schools. More charters makes it harder for the private schools to compete. In other words, the proliferation of charters has created a lack of quality private and parochial schools available. I believe that the availability of private schools is an issue of choice. Thus, if the District really cares about choice, it would have controlled charters so that they did not have such a detrimental effect on private schools. Disclaimer: I attended Catholic schools from K through 12. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2013 9:30 pm
Education Grad Student, You would be amazed to see how low some of the levels of students that come from Catholic and Private schools.
Submitted by LeRoi (not verified) on January 28, 2013 9:43 pm
It is amazing how they have public vs charter, teacher vs parents, and administrators vs unions instead of a united fight for more money from the state who took the money and invested in prisons. Cut 300 mil from schools, invest 300 mil in prisons, and then borrow 300 mil to keep the schools at their same failing status. Has anyone mentioned Corbit? If all the charters are closed will our poor children's plight improve without a complete overhaul of the system? The bandages that we apply don't even cover the entire wound much less begin the healing process. The answers are very complex and long term but taking swipes at each other is moving in the wrong direction entirely.
Submitted by JUDITH ROBINSON (not verified) on January 29, 2013 10:36 am
Yes,it would great to use the resources in our front and backyard ! It is good to know about a great music program at Temple... Fine .But, to have had Temple management of most of the schools proposed to be closed in North Philly,is a shame and you all know that ! No excuses. WE ARE LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS... After over 30 years of Title one funding ,this is where we find ourselves... Are charters really up to par ? With the Student'First, PAC,allof these foundations pouring $$$.White folks gathering up their children to assure resources...Every man/woman,child for themselves.WOW! This is a lot to work out in 30 days for a people who have had law passed against them receiving EDUCATION... Since Enslavement Blacks have been trying to get an education in USA. MOST do not get it !!! NORTH PHILLY IS under ATTACK ! WHY ? Who made the decisions ?Why did the Politicians take the $$$ from the StudentsFirst ,PAC? Churches running game !!! Shame on this mess. When the dust clears , will our children really be better ?Is this really about Education? The proceed from the sale of the buildings will go to payoff Debt Service aand Capital Projects!!! DO NO HARM.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 10:01 am
Agreed Judith. "Community Partnerships" is the buzzword of the day. We all agree that these partnerships can be invaluable. They simply DO NOT replace publicly funded schools. Check out what Hite is attempting with the nurses. I heard it said at the Bartrum meeting- expecting community partners (medical"home") to somehow make up for the school's responsibility to have school nurses on site. I am as disturbed by you by this. Your comment just about covers the whole mess very succinctly. Thanks.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 29, 2013 11:09 am
A valid issue. You need to remind PCAPS which is looking to these partnerships to save these schools. Never mind that it took an initial investment of $1 billion taxpayer money over 10 years to attract these in Cincinnati.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 29, 2013 11:36 am
Judith, I do not like the "every man/woman for him/herself" ethic promoted by "school choice", but I do not like the fact that billions of dollars (wow is it 30 years already?) of Title I money seem to be disappearing into a huge bureaucracy. The drop in enrollment is not just in North Philly, and is not solely due to charter enrollment. Please look at the U.S. Census site and see for yourself how many families with school age children have left in the past 10 years (2000 to 2010). Is it safety, job opportunities, perceived quality of education, taxes? Who knows. What is apparent is that these families are being replaced by 20 to 29 year olds and 55 to 65 and above year olds. Not necessarily a bad thing if we are looking to make neighborhoods safer, able to provide more economic opportunites, and yes, more diverse. Address the corruption and bad management in the PSD, and you will find the need for charters will drop, even stop. Simple as that.
Submitted by JUDITH ROBINSON (not verified) on January 29, 2013 11:09 am
Please...Wait ! While the SRC approves 1million $$$ for installation of a Roof... If 1million is budgeted ,you had better believe it will be spent !!! Who are the people making these decision? IJust Know ... Long term ,no matter what ,we all need to be more hands on for all of this nation 's young people . Adults... this is on our watch!
Submitted by JUDITH ROBINSON (not verified) on January 29, 2013 12:04 pm
Michelle Rhee will be in town on 2/6/2013 -Free Library Main Branch Parkway...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 1:48 pm
So Judith, help us understand what Michelle Rhee has to do with this. I am following her and I am frankly horrified by her. Let's talk more about Michelle Rhee here so we can compare notes.
Submitted by JUDITH ROBINSON (not verified) on January 29, 2013 1:59 pm
Yes ,we know of the demographic shift -manmade... started mostly under the GENTRIFICATION MAYOR ,JOHN F.STREET terms ...Hundreds,maybe even thousands of families have been MOVED out of North Philly (Raymond Rosen,Norris homes,etc...) That is why North Philly is under attack;the folks making decisions know who moved where. They have gutted this community! The students left have been experimented on Temple ?:Male only @ Fitzsimon,female @Rhoads,only to be pushed back together a few years later to Strawberry Mansion and Ben Franklin.Who made those decision? As Temple Student housing expands deeper into the hood,it's on and popping! As we homeowners are cleaning and green our vast number of vacant parcels.. RE: Michelle Rhee- Students First.org She started the fire in DC ,may be she is coming here to give the troops marching orders. Perfect timing ;)
Submitted by Love Quotes (not verified) on April 17, 2013 11:42 am
School, choices and their selection is such a important and crucial decision which effects life and career of people. This stuff can rally help them for considering it. Thanks

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