"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Riding the ‘Turnaround’ Merry-Go-Round in the Continuing Assault on Philadelphia Public Schools: Part II

by Ken Derstine @ Defend Public Education!
April 6, 2016

Part I of this series detailed how Mastery Charter is using the hostile takeover methods of the corporate world to takeover more Philadelphia Public Schools each year. But education deals with relationships between human beings, not the industrial products and natural resources of the corporate world. Thus, these hostile takeovers aggravate historic class and ethnic tensions (watch the video). Philadelphia schools have struggled for years with underfunding at the state level; now charters bring the added disparity in funding between public schools and charters within Philadelphia. Philadelphia currently has 83 charters. Other charter companies, including KIPP (four schools), ASPIRA (six schools), and Universal (seven schools) are looking to expand their enrollment, but Mastery increasingly dominates the charter sector in Philadelphia. Also, with many independent charters, Philadelphia is ranked third in the nation for the number of students enrolled in charter schools with currently roughly 70,000 of Philadelphia’s approximately 200,000 students being enrolled in charters.

Mastery Charter Schools

Mastery currently manages nine elementary schools, eight middle/high schools in Philadelphia, and six schools (five elementary and one high school) in Camden, New Jersey, in total, serving over 12,000 students. In its five-year budget plan, announced March 24th, at the School Reform Commission (SRC) meeting, the District anticipates an additional enrollment of 10,000 more charter students in the next five years. Adding to the District's problems, on February 16, 2016 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the SRC had overstepped its authority in imposing enrollment caps on charters. That will probably result in an increase in charter enrollment in existing charter schools. The SRC also announced on March 24th its intention to add at 10,000 more charter students in the next five years and to close at least three public schools each year beginning in 2018. 

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