Deny all 4 new charter applications at its February [2023] meeting

School District of Philadelphia Board of Education Action Meeting Testimony

January 26, 2023

by Lisa Haver

The Board will be voting on 4 new charter applications next month. The board’s speaker suppression policies say that if you spoke at one meeting, you might be barred from speaking at the next. So rather than wait minutes before the vote next month, after the board’s internal discussions about it, I am urging the board tonight to vote to deny all 4 new charter applications at its February meeting.All 4 applicants—Aspira, Perseverance, and Global Leadership Academy—are already operating charters in the district. All 4 have taken over neighborhood schools with the promise of “effecting dramatic change” in those schools. None of them has fulfilled that promise. Aspira performed so badly in academics and engaged in so many questionable financial practices that the board voted to take them back.Those now operating Bluford and Daroff are unquestionably unable to operate a school. Actually, they are applying to operate 2 schools at 2 locations with 2 faculties and 2 administrations. Their current performance, their inadequate application, and their inability to answer the most basic questions at their hearing leaves no doubt that the board must deny the application.GLA’s CEOs are costing taxpayers approximately ¾ of a million $$ in combined annual salary and compensation. Another CEO might put them over the $1 million mark. Aside from that GLA has not improved the educational opportunities at Huey, despite their promises. Their ongoing misinformation campaign over the years has been disturbing.President Streater has said in recent interviews that he wants to “de-politicize” education. Putting aside the wisdom and practicality of that position, the board could take a step toward that by denying all 4 new charter applications. The district does not need any new charters nor can it afford any new charters.When you look at the dismal performance of the applicants, their inadequate applications, their less than impressive answers at their hearings, and their broken promises to improve the neighborhood schools they took over, there is only reason to grant any one of them: politics.Is the board’s duty to serve the students, families and community? Or is it to cave to the interests of charter operators? Those who read the news are cognizant of the political pressure brought by some charter operators and the politicians who support them.There is only one reason to grant any of these new charter applications: politics.