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Finalists for Renaissance charter providers announced

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 25, 2013 12:39 PM

[Updated 3 p.m.]

Mastery, Universal Companies, and Scholar Academies will vie to operate three additional Renaissance turnaround schools put on the list for next year, the School District announced Monday.

In making the announcement, Superintendent William Hite said in a statement that all three had made progress in the elementary-level turnarounds that they now operate. Mastery has five, Universal three, and Young Scholars one.

The District said that eight organizations had submitted applications.

“We know that reversing years of low performance takes time and a special set of skills,” said Hite in a statement. “We are confident that these three Turnaround Teams can significantly improve academic performance and stabilize school climate while meaningfully engaging parents and communities in our shared mission of providing high-quality education for all students.”

The District announced in February that three habitually struggling schools -- James Alcorn Elementary in South Philadelphia, Kenderton in North Philadelphia and Pastorius in Germantown -- would be converted into Renaissance charters.

Both Kenderton and Pastorius have failed to meet federal benchmarks for "adequate yearly progress" the last decade.

Between now and mid-April, a matching process will take place in which advisory councils from the Renaissance schools rank their preferences among the charter providers. Hite makes the final recommendation to the School Reform Commission, which will vote on the matches in late April or early May.

Seven charter operators now run 17 Renaissance schools. Eleven of them are managed by Mastery and Universal.

The five applicants who were not chosen are American Paradigm, Creative Minds Partnership, CMSI Academies, Mosaica Turnaround Partners, and String Theory.

Three of them now operate Renaissance turnarounds. Two are in their first year: String Theory at the Philadelphia Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds, and American Paradigm at the Memphis Street Academy Charter School at J.P. Jones. Mosaica has operated the Birney Preparatory Academy since 2011.

CSMI is the for-profit management company that operates Chester Community Charter School, which educates more than half the elementary-age children in Chester-Upland. That charter school, described on the company's website as "one of Pennsylvania's great educational success stories," last year was among those investigated by the state for suspicious PSSA test score patterns, including high numbers of wrong-to-right erasures, and was required to impose much stricter test security protocols in 2012. After the measures were adopted, student proficiency rates in math and reading plummeted by 30 points. A school spokesman attributed the decline to reduced funding from the state.

The company's founder, Vahan Gureghian, was Gov. Corbett's largest single campaign contributor. He has consistently declined to release information on CSMI's fee structure and profits from operating Chester Community, repeatedly arguing in court that as a private company, CSMI is not subject to Pennsylvania Right-to-Know laws.

Creative Minds Partnership was formed by musicians Carvin Haggins and Carol Riddick. According to their website, they sought to open the city's first African American Renaissance elementary charter school for both arts and STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). They said they were inspired in part by Kenny Gamble, who founded Universal Companies.



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Comments (62)

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on March 25, 2013 2:20 pm

Three Simple Requests


Release the scores for all providers who put in a Request for Proposal

The public deserves to know the rubric the District is using to evaluate a provider’s ability to run a school turnaround. There are important criteria each provider needs to meet. Can the provider give evidence of improving instruction? Can the provider prove that it can grow enrollment by bringing students from the catchment back into the school? Can the provider actually afford to do the turnaround, with the given size and special needs of the school. We also need to know that the three highest scoring providers are actually being selected, schools should be no place for special favors.


Be transparent about the School Advisory Councils

    The District needs to make public the entire SAC process. There is an application to be a SAC member and nomination process to decide who the voting members will be. The public needs to know that the members of the SAC are vetted parents and community members of the designated schools. We can ill afford more rumors of “concerned citizens” advising or serving on SACs who turn out to be contractors and agents of providers.


Get a fair rent for our buildings

    These buildings are public property, paid for with public monies. If a provider can only afford to sustain its turnaround efforts through significant increase in student enrollment or yet-to-be-secured grant money, they should be denied. If a provider can not afford to staff a special needs classroom like emotional support or multiple-disabilities class, they should be denied. If the District cannot afford empty buildings, it certainly cannot afford to subsidize rent or staffing costs.
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on March 25, 2013 2:30 pm
Here is the rubric. Kenderton and Pastorius fit into the Mastery system so they go there. Universal gets the other one and the third applicant is window dressing.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 25, 2013 8:43 pm
Timothy-----The answers to your 3 simple questions are : No, No and No but you already knew that before you posted those questions.
Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on March 25, 2013 2:47 pm
Three good requests, Tim--and, one would think everyone would want to know the answers. I have one more request: That all providers currently running Renaissance Charter Schools submit to an independent, full, and complete Special Education audit. Questions include: How many and what kind of Special Education students and classes did the DISTRICT RUN school have? How many of these classes and students stayed at the school when the "turn-around" process happened? How many SPED students and classes have since left the Renaissance Charters? WHY and HOW dis they leave? Were the parents unhappy with any aspect of the way their children were being serviced by the Renaissance Charters? WHERE did the students who left go?
Submitted by Timothy Boyle on March 25, 2013 6:29 pm

Kenderton has both an Austistic Support and an Emotional Support classroom. Pastorius and Alcorn both have Emotional Support classes as well.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on March 25, 2013 6:24 pm
Well, we shall see how long it takes the providers to say they are "not equipped", to deal with these special education students, and how long it takes them to ask for extra money. Isn't that what they did last year with MDS students at one of the Renaissance Schools?
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 25, 2013 9:55 pm
Yes, Mastery was going to close a program - after one year - and was persuaded to keep the program because the School District gave them a lot of extra money. Another shame!
Submitted by L.G. (not verified) on March 25, 2013 9:45 pm
Hasn't Mastery kept some larger Autistic/Emotional Support programs at Smedley and a Life Skills Program at Gratz?
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 26, 2013 2:53 pm
My understanding is that there is Autistic Support at Smedley. With regard to Mastery Gratz, it's much easier to support a Life Skills program at a comprehensive high school like Gratz than a neighborhood elementary school because of the size of a comprehensive high school. Most students will have mild disabilities and don't need all of the per-pupil special ed money that the state provides. A smaller number of students with low-incidence disabilities, e.g. students in Life Skills Support, will need more than what the average per-pupil cost that the state provides. There are enough special ed students that the special ed funding---which is an average amount---should even out because Gratz has a lot of students. Read more about how the state funds special education here in the Costing-Out study for Pennsylvania (2007): EGS
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on March 25, 2013 3:53 pm

Tim and Kristen make good requests.   I have one more.   All providers agree to sign neutrality agreements and agree to respect the right of school employees to organize and engage in collective bargaining.   Many charter school operators have engaged in unfair labor practices to deny their employees their legal rights.   The SRC claims that their fondness of the Renaissance School project has nothing to do with union busting.   So they should have no problem agreeing to this stipulation.

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 25, 2013 8:46 pm
Ron-----Joe Pitchforks here. Great Request but it's going to be ignored, of course, just like the 3 Tim Boyle made.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 25, 2013 8:28 pm
Perhaps this request can be part of the PFT's bargaining platform. And the other requests for disclosures. Seem like reasonable requests to me. Definitely parents would support these.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 25, 2013 9:02 pm
Ron, I definitely agree with you about the neutrality agreements. Teachers and staff should have the choice to join or not join a union. If they choose not to join, that's their choice. If they choose to join a union, that's their choice. I don't think that the PFT should be pressuring charter school teachers to unionize, nor should charter school operators be pressuring employees not to unionize. The choice needs to be that of the teachers and staff at a particular school. EGS
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on March 26, 2013 8:46 am


PFT is prohibted from organizing charter schools by state law.   The Alliance for Charter School Employees is the union that seeks to organize charters.   The playing field is not level between unions and employers.   Unions have limited access to make their case and have no power to coerce, unlike the employers.   A neutrality agreement typically means the employer agrees to refrain from coercive activity and agree to an election if a majority of cards are filed.   

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 26, 2013 9:39 am
Charter teachers are also "at will." They are very vulnerable - their contract can be canceled at any time. This happened a number of times at Independence Charter School - a "good charter." So called "progressive" administrators and CEOs will do anything to keep out a union. They fear teachers with any way to challenge their whims.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 26, 2013 2:56 pm
Philly Parent and Teacher, Can you elaborate on the situation at Independence Charter School? ICS sends a large number of students to Masterman. However, their founder and original principal, Jurate Krokys, left ICS and now works for American Paradigm Schools. What happened to teachers at ICS? EGS
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 26, 2013 4:41 pm
Despite parental support, teachers have had their contract "not renewed" or canceled. There was little if any due process. Teachers quickly learn to not question anything. It is very contrary to their "global" focus. Yes, the former CEO retired and moved onto a charter company - American Paradigm Schools - which apparently wants to expand in Philly (and beyond?) I'm not comfortable giving any other information on a public site.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 26, 2013 2:26 pm
Thanks for the clarification Ron. If the PFT the only union in the state prohibited from organizing charter schools or are there unions in other counties that have the same prohibition? EGS
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on March 27, 2013 9:40 am


Other unions around the state are similarly effected.  ACT 22, the 1997 state charter school law says that charter school workers are public employees and thus can bargain collectively but they cannot be represented by the same union that represents District employees. The Alliance of Charter School Employees is part of the Pensylvania American Federation of Teachers which also includes the PFT and other AFT locals in the state.    Each charter school is a separate bargaining unit with its own contract.   

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 4:10 am
Are there charter schools where the teachers actually want to join the PFT? Given the PFT's stance on charters, it seems like it would be a conflict of interest for the PFT to represent them.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 8:25 am
It wouldn't be the PFT. If the teachers of charters want to unionize, they can do that. If they do then they would have their own union.
Submitted by Mayday (not verified) on March 25, 2013 4:04 pm
Mastery will get Pastorius, advancing Scott Gordon's agenda to monopolize Germantown. This is why the SDP paid for millions of dollars in renovations to the Pastorius building in the last couple of years, while other neighborhood schools in the area got zilch for structural improvements. This money was effectually STOLEN from the Philadelphia Public Schools, with the full knowledge of the SRC and District administration.
Submitted by Timothy Boyle on March 25, 2013 4:12 pm

There were $2,010,811 completed capital projects at Pastorious between 2003-2012, $2,460,288 at Alcorn and $300,000 at Kenderton over the same time frame. 

Submitted by Annony (not verified) on March 25, 2013 6:02 pm
Universal, once again, will get a renovated to new building (Alcorn, Audenreid, etc.) Meanwhile, some of us work in buildings and have children in buildings with leaky roofs, no air conditioning, etc. Criminal SRC!
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 25, 2013 8:54 pm
Annony---And they'll keep doing it and even worse until they get stopped in a big way. Why wouldn't they, when you don't care, you have nothing to lose.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 25, 2013 9:18 pm
I would think that Mastery is more interested in Kenderton because Kenderton feeds into Mastery Gratz. Mastery also has the nearby schools Clymer and Cleveland.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 27, 2013 11:05 am
Mayday--------------What you are describing is a microcosm of the massive "in our face" abuse and corruption of the charter supporters, including Nutter and The SRC. They simply don't even bother to lie anymore--why would they, they don't care and thus far, they haven't been slowed let alone stopped.
Submitted by Peg D (not verified) on March 25, 2013 4:13 pm
Here's another request: Once a student is in the Charter School, the Charter Schools are required to keep said students until they graduate. REAL public schools are not allowed to put students out. Supposedly Charters are their own districts. If this is really true, they should not be allowed to force students to leave their schools.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 25, 2013 8:01 pm
Peg---should, could, if, required are all words that don't apply to Phila. Charters. They'll continue to bumrush the system until they are forced to stop. Underline the word, FORCED several thousand times.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2013 4:22 pm
"Real" public schools put students out all the time. It's just informal, and they stay in the District (just another school). As a neighborhood high school teacher, I got more new students during the year from other neighborhood schools than from charters. In the SDP it's fairly common practice for a principal to let a parent know that it would be a good idea to transfer to another neighborhood school. True, it's not officially "forcing" a student to leave, but it works the same way. Most "real" Philly schools have more turnover than charters (though it's not all disciplinary). The disciplinary stuff just happens informally, and since it cancels out with another student from another school, it doesn't show up at a decline in enrollment. And the charters I've been involved with actually do more to constructively address behavior before counseling out. Both of the SDP schools I was at either ignored behavior problems or suspended (formally/informally) until the parents got frustrated and transferred the student (or he [almost always male] dropped out). I'm mostly familiar with high schools, so perhaps it's not the same K-8, but at least in high schools, "real" schools do plenty of putting students out.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 25, 2013 5:13 pm
American Paradigm and String Theory (Performing Arts) are in there first year of managing a Renaissance School. Therefore, they are not eligible for a takeover because no PSSA scores are available at this time.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 25, 2013 5:26 pm
After reading Creative Minds Partnership website it look like a great place I would send my children. Why is it that the same schools continue to be rewarded with the contracts. As for the comment so called STEM - Urban Youth Racing School is STEM. It's partnerships are with the United States Navy -NAVSEA and GMC. Creative Minds also had a partnership with Black Engineers Association. If that's not STEM I'm not sure what STEM is??? Let's not talk about the wonderful opportunity the children would have had to work with Grammy Award Winner Carvin Haggins and Philadelphia's Own Carol Riddick. Both have made Philadelphia ver proud. Who are the SAC members? I thought the community had the right to pick the school they wanted in their district and then refer it back to the committee? Seems like this was already predetermined...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 25, 2013 6:07 pm
What are the reasons why a school has consistently not made adequate yearly progress in a decade?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 25, 2013 7:01 pm
Because the test is flawed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 25, 2013 7:21 pm
So you are telling me that the single item that determines whether a school has made adequate yearly progress is based on test scores solely?
Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on March 25, 2013 8:29 pm
Yes, that is why so very many people absolutely despise the tests (PSSAs and Keystones) we are about to take. There are many flaws with the test--the stress on children is one thing that is hugely wrong! The fact that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania OPENLY defies federal disability law (IDEA) by requiring students with IEPs to test on grade level rather than actual reading or math level is another. Many (though certainly not all) children living in poverty have a hard time attending school regularly and sometimes learning optimally when they are there. Educators would love to go to a portfolio system or a system in which a child's progress is tracked. But the one-size-fits-all test does not truly measure what a lot of kids can do.
Submitted by Mark (not verified) on March 27, 2013 10:12 am
The test is the largest percentage of the calculations for AYP. I think it's 50%.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 25, 2013 8:02 pm
Because the test is heavily language based, and this is for many of the children a different culture (poverty creates a different culture). The limited techniques which are available to a teacher in a classroom, fall short of the outreach needed, not only because of cultural issues but also because many of the kids are unable to focus in the classroom setting because of unmet needs at home. Finally the schools often have a significant percentage of Special Ed students who do not do well on written tests. All these are reasons that the children are not showing progress. They can be addressed, but only if a principal is willing to "go out on a limb" and do the necessary outreach. It is to be seen if the Renaissance school approach will do the same.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 25, 2013 7:24 pm
My Request: Investigate the charter companies from the inside - find out what is really happening. How is the district going to allow Universal to take yet another school after the corrupt tactics used in the past? How is it feasible for a convicted criminal - Kenny Gamble - to be able to own a company that educates our children? Who did his record check? Or isn't he allowed to enter the school buildings?
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 25, 2013 8:37 pm
Nutter and Gamble sitting in a tree-----------yes, as pretentious, pompous and tedious as Scotty is, Gamble is even far worse but da hookup is in.
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on March 26, 2013 7:01 am
Take up the White Man's burden-- Send forth the best ye breed-- Go bind your sons to exile To serve your captives' need; To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild-- Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 25, 2013 7:36 pm
My Request: Investigate the charter companies from the inside - find out what is really happening. How is the district going to allow Universal to take yet another school after the corrupt tactics used in the past? How is it feasible for a convicted criminal - Kenny Gamble - to be able to own a company that educates our children? Who did his record check? Or isn't he allowed to enter the school buildings?
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 25, 2013 9:55 pm
Based on the School Profile pages for each school, here are the total and special education student populations for the three schools. ES = Emotional Support and AS = Autistic Support. These numbers don't include Learning Support, which almost every school has. However, the School Profile data does not include data for Learning Support. These School Profiles are from Pastorius is Northwest, Kenderton is North-Central, and Alcorn is South-Central. Pastorius 521 students (735 is capacity) - 11 ES Kenderton 380 (can hold 795) - 19 AS, 12 ES Alcorn 506 (can hold 775) - 1 AS, 9 ES The school that really concerns me is Kenderton because of the total population at the school and the type and number of special education students. Here are the demographics for Kenderton: However, the AS and ES students probably make up close to 50% of the special ed students at Kenderton since the student population is 380, 19% of which is special ed, and there are 31 students in either AS or ES. Mastery is likely going to push hard for Kenderton because it feeds into Mastery Gratz. My understanding is that Mastery has experience with Autistic Support because there is Autistic Support at Smedley. Can anyone comment on the Autistic Support services at Mastery Smedley? Does Mastery serve the kids or do these kids end up back in District schools? The District went through the special ed funding fiasco at Clymer, so there is no excuse for Mastery to vie for Kenderton and ask the District for financial help for special ed services. It appears that there is a change in how the District is operating the Renaissance Initiative process. It used to be that there were multiple operators competing for each school. Initially, each operator applied for all schools and then last year, operators could pick and choose schools. Now, what is the process? Does each operator apply for just one school or for multiple schools? There's a total lack of transparency about how the Renaissance Initiative process works. Also, a parent at the most recent SRC meeting asked the SRC to give Kenderton one more year because there is a new principal and the school is making progress. If her testimony reflects the feelings of the community, then shouldn't the school's SAC have input into whether Kenderton even becomes a charter school? Education Grad Student
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 26, 2013 1:30 am
EGS----I love you and your hard work but you keep looking for answers where they ain't so to speak. We've passed the "should" stage with all this nonsense. They're going to do whatever they can get away with and are doing it as we speak. There have been no stop signs so far. You are right, there is no transparency, there is no regard for community opinions, there is no set process because they don't have to abide by any rules--------------seriously !! The SRC, the crooked pols and the charter operators, and isn't that an appropriate term, are having a grand old time at the expense of the kids and their families.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2013 7:03 am
I love how fewer than half of the kids in these schools walk away able to read or do math at a basic level but NB commenters are more concerned about whether the adults can unionize. So perfect!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2013 1:40 pm
Yeah, that's all because of the unionized teachers, right? Nothing to do with parents that can't be bothered to show up for report cards or help their own children with homeworK? Nothing to do with the administration that constantly socially promotes students no matter how little they do? As a result students know they can skid through the whole year doing nothing and WILL still be promoted at the end. But keep blaming the teachers because that's solved the problems so well so far.
Submitted by Urban teacher (not verified) on March 26, 2013 7:16 am
Are Charter schools the reason why we are in a deficit?
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 26, 2013 8:09 am
Partly. There has been poor planning regarding the loss of enrollment (equals loss of funding) from families with school age children leaving the City and from transfers of students to charters. Approving 80 plus charters shows a lack of critical evaluation on the part of the SRC. Sure "one size" does not fit all, but are 80 sizes necessary? In addition when the District operates at a fraction of its structural capacity (instructional costs, as staffing), the expenditure per child becomes highly inefficient, that is increases disproportionately to effectiveness. The charters by law must be paid this inflated per child expenditure, increasing the burden on the District even more. Ironically charters are an attempt at preserving the institutionalized business model we currently have in the face of growing recognition of this model's shortfalls. After all the whole existence of institutionalized education has its foundation in the Industrial Revolution and the greater cost efficiency which it offers. The system is founded on cost efficiency. Even the reason for outsourcing to charter operators is a move to reduce costs, as in the business world at large. If the District is able to reduce its operating costs (which it is trying to do by closing schools) then the per child payment to charters should also drop. It must also do something at the same time to change the perception that it is the option of last choice.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 26, 2013 2:54 pm
Ms. Cheng, You are so right when you say: "Approving 80 plus charters shows a lack of critical evaluation on the part of the SRC. Sure "one size" does not fit all, but are 80 sizes necessary?" Not only are there too many charters, but charter networks are replacing the District, which was never the intention of charter schools. The competition for students is creating problems for the District and the city, among them, abandoned buildings and a concentration of the neediest students in the traditional public schools. Furthermore, there are some families and students who DON'T have a choice as to where they go to school. These students are the special education students with low-incidence disabilities. Go to and look at the School Information packets for each area. Look at the school profiles for the comprehensive high schools like Bartram, Overbrook, University City, Edison, Franklin, West, Northeast, and Lincoln. These schools all have double digit numbers of either ES (Emotional Support), AS (Autistic Support), and/or LSS (Life Skills Support) students. Bok also has a large number of students with disabilities, especially LSS students. Now look at the number of special education students at special admit and city-wide admit schools like Central, Bodine, Constitution, Arts Academy at Rush, Motivation HS, Academy at Palumbo, CAPA, and Franklin Learning Center. Rush has double digit AS students, but otherwise, there are a very small number of ES, AS, and LSS students attending these schools, especially in comparison to the total student body population. Not only are students with low-incidence disabilities concentrated in comprehensive high schools, but the proliferation of high school options will make it harder and harder for the District to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education for the students with low-incidence disabilities, who require specialized programming and are expensive to educate. The District needs to start acknowledging the lack of choices for students with low-incidence disabilities and other needy students. If the District can't impose enrollment caps, then find a new line of reasoning to stop unfettered expansion of charters. Use special education and civil rights laws and present cases for how many of the charter schools do not serve the hardest to serve students---students with low-incidence disabilities, ELLs, and students with behavior problems. EGS
Submitted by Urban teacher (not verified) on March 26, 2013 9:11 am
Thank you. Ms. Cheng
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 26, 2013 2:36 pm
Here is an Inquirer article, Candidates named to take over 3 Philly schools, about the Renaissance operators that the District selected: See Here is a quotation from Universal's CEO Rahim Islam from the aforementioned article: Islam said that "Alcorn is a priority," but that Universal had no "magic number of schools" in mind. "We will follow the wishes of the parents." So there it is for the record, confirming what many of us already suspected: Unviersal wants to take over Alcorn. EGS
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 26, 2013 4:10 pm
Universal has a poor track record with keeping students in its catchment. (They were the only Renaissance Charter sited for poor performance in this area by Research for Action.) Universal also can't pay its bills - we, the School District/taxpayers, are paying for Audenreid and Vare rent with Universal given a token "contribution." If Universal can't pay the full cost of a building, why in the world would they get another school? The SRC has their heads in the sand...
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 26, 2013 4:54 pm
PPT-----Nutter and Gamble are very good and old friends.
Submitted by tom-104 on March 26, 2013 5:45 pm
I think it would be more accurate to say they are throwing sand in our eyes in the hopes we cannot see what they are doing.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 26, 2013 6:23 pm
Tom 104---They're throwing something in our eyes but it sure ain't sand.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2013 4:07 pm
Alcorn, if you are reading this.. DO NOT LET YOUR SAC TEAM VOTE FOR UNIVERSAL!!! I am a parent at Universal Creighton and I hate it!! They made all these promises and didn't come through on them. Classes don't have teachers - kids are running wild - the place is a mess. At one point, four teachers quit the same day! They pretend to have it all together but look between the lines! Universal isn't in it for the kids - they are in it for themselves!!!!!!!!
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 27, 2013 9:54 pm
Yes, it really is a disgrace but giving Gamble schools is just setting them up for failure. Universal is remarkably disorganized and shabby in all areas but Nutter and Gamble have been buddies forever.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2013 6:49 pm
This is what is so bizarre about SDP's charter relations. Sometimes (i.e. Mastery) they seem to reward good educational outcomes (you can argue about whether Mastery's ideal, but in the charter world, they do seem to be pretty effective at improving students' skills and at least getting them accepted to colleges; they also, in their Renaissance schools, have done a pretty good job at keeping the neighborhood students (from what I remember in the RFA report, at least some of Mastery's turnarounds actually had more neighborhood students than the schools had before they were Renaissanced"). But sometimes a good reputation isn't worth anything to the District (KIPP?). And sometimes networks that have pretty mediocre records keep getting schools (Universal?). That's what bothers me the most about the SDP and charters. They don't seem consistent about the criteria they apply when considering charter operators (for expansion or Renaissance).
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 29, 2013 10:50 pm
This message from the Universal Creighton parent comes directly from The PFT association.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 2, 2013 6:47 pm
Does it really matter. I was born, raised and still live in South Philadelphia. I pay taxes and live what I believe to be the life of a responsible citizen. Why is it my child is not chosen in a lottery for the South Philly Charter Schools????
Submitted by tom-104 on April 2, 2013 6:33 pm
If we give up public schools, there are going to be have's and have not's. Its back to segregation based on family income!
Submitted by Phillip May (not verified) on April 23, 2013 8:09 am
It seems to be an academic site. I studied renaissance but I have discovered many contradictions which need to be resolved. I am just looking for information

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