January 23, 2017
The School District received five applications for new charters to open September 2017. One applicant has already dropped out. APPS members attended all four Charter School Hearings held on Thursday Jan 5 and Monday Jan 9th. The SRC will vote on these applications on February 8th. The Charter School Office will post its evaluation reports on its website approximately one week before the vote. We have researched each applicant. Links to our research follows this Executive Summary of issues and concerns. The four applicants are Metropolitan Philadelphia Classical Charter School (MPCCS); Deep Roots Charter School (DRCS); Friendship Whittier Charter School (FWCS); and KIPP Charter School. Our reports are quite lengthy and detailed so we are highlighting some essential points.
* Three applicants have detailed Attachments that are inaccessible to the public. Representatives of the SRC office told APPS that we would have to file an official Right to Know request to access any of the attachments. That would take months, and it would be unlikely that the district would release the information before the SRC votes in February.
*MPCCS and FWCS applicants are from outside of Philadelphia. FWCS and MPCCS have no connection to the intended community.
*All four applicants used pre-packaged, scripted curricular materials.
*3 out of 4 have limited or no parental involvement.
*FWCS and DRCS are opening in district school buildings closed due to under-enrollment.
*FWCS and DRCS have management contracts with outside businesses. The FWCS management fee is 12% of its budget. This goes to the Charter Management Operator.
*All four are top heavy in management positions.
*Student privacy and the rights to student information are not addressed by any of these Charter Management Organizations.
*There is no job security for teachers at DRCS, KIPP, and FWCS. As it says in the KIPP Parkside Charter School application, employment “is “at-will” meaning that either the employee or the school may end the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, with or without cause.” At MPCCS all teachers will be recruited from Hillsdale College. The College “considers itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture…”
To read the reports on individual charter applications click on the links below:
The School Reform Commission will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, February 8th to consider and vote to grant or deny these new charter applications. The meeting will be at 4 p.m. in the auditorium at the 440 N. Broad Street. If you wish to speak you must register by calling the SDP Office of the SRC at 215-400-4010 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7th.