Analysis Shows Failure of Renaissance Schools

by Coleman Poses

In his swan song to the Board of Education last April, Dr. Chris McGinley requested that the Renaissance model be retired, due to its lack of accountability as well as the fact that schools were being coerced to adopt a model that was based upon school choice. Dr. Fix-Lopez promised to bring a motion before the Board to end the Renaissance program by October. Chairperson Wilkerson stated that the Renaissance evaluation that the district had been performing needed to be made public before a vote could be taken. Dr. Hite, however, prepared a way to continued existence for these schools by stating that policy 141, “The Renaissance Schools Initiative” needed to be “updated”.

At the Policy Committee meeting on September 10, the committee voted to update various charter policies. During this meeting, Committee Chair Maria McColgan kept assuring the charter school advocates on the Zoom that these policy changes had nothing to do with the existence of the renaissance program.

At the meeting, Charter Office head Christina Grant explained that the office was proposing conflating six existing charter school policies into two, and eliminating Policy 141.

Upon questioning by Committee Chair McColgan about how the elimination of Policy 141 would affect the operation and oversight of the Renaissance charters, Ms. Grant stated that these schools would continue to operate in exactly the same fashion that they have always operated, and that the monitoring and authorization of these schools would not change.

Why then, all the fuss about elimination of this policy? A closer look at the policy itself reveals that: “Renaissance Schools shall not exercise selective testing or erect other barriers to admission. All Renaissance Schools must enroll and serve all grade appropriate students that were enrolled at the school at the time of Renaissance School designation. Students who attend or through feeder patterns are slated to attend a school that is designated a Renaissance School shall be guaranteed a seat in the new school, subject to space limitations of the school.”

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APPS Urges Board to Reject City Health Director’s Reopening Recommendations

by Lisa Haver

Update: the Hite administration has scrapped its reopening plan for the foreseeable future. When the issue comes up again for reconsideration, possibly in Spring 2021, APPS will reissue this statement. 

Members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools call on the Board of Education and the Hite administration to stop following recommendations from City Health Director Thomas Farley on sending back students and staff to District buildings. 

The inconsistencies of Dr. Farley’s statements since July demonstrate his failure to present an honest assessment of the dangers of reopening school buildings. No one disputes that face-to-face instruction would be better, but we cannot endanger the lives of teachers and their students, nor those of their families.

To read the rest of the statement click here.

Defenders of Public Education Speak before the BOE, October 22, 2020

Click on the title to read the transcript of the speaker’s testimony.

Teaching and Learning

Board Devaluation of Effective Teaching, Learning, and Health by Rachel Boschen

Signature U.S. Education Initiatives by Barbara McDowell Dowdall

Policy Changes

Do Not Eliminate Renaissance Charter Policy 141 by Deborah Grill

Board Must Not Deregulate Renaissance Charters by Lisa Haver

Changes to Renaissance Charter Policy 141 by Karel Kilimnik

Consequences of Changes to the Wellness Policy and Policy 141 by Robin Lowry


Board Spending on Contract with Playworks by Jennifer Byiers

Vote NO on Canvas Learning Management Platform by Kristin Luebbert

Against Outsourcing Equity Work by Maddie Luebbert

School Reopening and Charter Renewals

NEBB Certification– Credentials and Reports? [Ventilation] by Diane Payne

What is the Rush to Renew Keystone Charter? by Ilene Poses