Charter Turkey of the Year Bus Tour Tomorrow!

Tomorrow we will recognize a few of the many charters who have refused to turn over documents that are supposed to be part of the public record to our charter school task force. How can we be talking about expanding the charter school sector when charters ignore the existing law that calls for a minimal degree of transparency? We say no charter school expansion unless there are meaningful checks against fraud in the law and the administration of charters.

Join us on the bus or meet us at anyone of the following stops (times are approximate):

1:00 PM Meeting at ACTION United

Bus departs at 1:15

1:15 PM Arrive at People for People Charter School, 800 North Broad
No response to our request

1:30 PM Depart P for P, leave for Multicultural

Bus Agenda Part 1:
Welcome, Introductions
Why we are here today: the tour itiniery

1:45 Arrive Multi-Cultural Charter, 3821 N. Broad St
No fraud risk management plan or fraud risk assessment,
no list of Board members

2:00 Depart Multi-cultural

Bus agenda Part 2:

2:15 Mosaica-Birney, 9th and Lindley, 900 W. Lindley
For Profit charter, no reponse
applying to expand

2:30 Leave Birney, for Aspira

Bus Agenda Part 3:

2:45 Arrive Asipra HQ 5th & Courtland; 4322 N. 5th St
No response, wants to expand, lots of questions about mixing funds for organization and school; spending $600K fighting unionization

3:00 depart Aspira, drive to YUC

Bus Agenda Part 4:

3:30 arrive YUC 1910 N. Front St

4:00 Depart for Memphis Street, 2950 Memphis, 19134
No fraud policy,
Renaissance school

4:15 arrive Memphis

4:45 depart Memphis/YUC

Bus Agenda Part 5:
Debrief, next steps

5:00 Back to office

We Want Sustainable Community Schools

Over a hundred people came together at Arch St. Methodist Church last night to kick of a campaign for sustainable community schools. The event was part of a national week of action in 15 cities across the country, sponsored by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS)

Sustainable community schools are a transformative alternative to both privatization in the form of unaccountable charter schools and the resource starved, test driven neighborhood schools that we now have in Philadelphia. It’s a vision that calls for realizing the promise of the historic Brown decision….quality, public schools for all children.

One of the strengths of this campaign is that it brings together people who are already fighting for one or another of the elements of community schools. It brings together these strands of the education justice movement in the form of a practical demand that reflects our democratic values.

Last night’s event mirrored that understanding. A powerful video made by the Media Mobilizing Project featured interviews with students, parents and educators involved in the fight against budget austerity and privatization.

A panel moderated by three high school students from Youth United For Change heard from Kendra Brooks, President of the Steel School Advisory Committee and a parent leader from ACTION United, talk about the successful struggle to defeat the takeover of the school by Mastery Charter and the Steel’s community’s vision of a community school.

Sakiema Wood, a senior at South Philadelphia School, a member of the school peer mediation program and a member of the Philadelphia Student Union talked about the harmful consequences of negative, punitive discipline and why restorative practices are needed as part of the sustainable community school vision

Tom Wyatt, another parent from Passyunk Square Civic Association, spoke about the effort to draw on neighborhood resources in developing “wrap around” services at Jackson elementary.

Tim Boyle, a teacher at Chester Arthur Elementary and a Teaching Consultant for the Philadelphia Writing Project, spoke on the need for a curriculum and instruction that engages students and how a school integrated with the community could provide more relevance.

PCAPS Coordinator Ron Whitehorne outlined the strategy for getting 10% of Philadelphia Schools to be Sustainable Community Schools in four years, focusing on the demand that School Improvement Grant money be used exclusively for that purpose. Whitehorne promised that this issue would be a litmus test for mayoral and council candidates in the coming year.

A petition drive aimed at the SRC was launched. At last night’s meeting SRC meeting several people testified. PCAPS statement: SRC statement on sustainable community schools

Check the Community Schools task force for updates, meetings, and documents related to this campaign. And check out these pictures. Photo credits: Harvey Finkle, Terrance Meacham.