Philadelphia’s school board is failing children with its lack of charter school oversight | Opinion

The playground at Universal Daroff Charter School, which closed just before the 2022-23 academic year began
Aubri Juhasz / WHYY

The following commentary was written by APPS co-founder Lisa Haver and published by Billy Penn on September 19, 2022

Students and families at two Philadelphia schools thrown into chaos just before the academic year have yet to hear those who could have prevented it take any responsibility.

Instead of providing explanations for what happened at Bluford and Daroff — the latter was shut down, and the former will close at the end of the year — Universal Companies, awarded charter contracts for the two West Philly elementary schools over a decade ago, has stonewalled those school communities.

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Board Accepts No Responsibility for Charter Debacle

Special Meeting of the Board of Education: August 26, 2022

by Diane Payne

The August 28, 2022 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, on the emergency at Daroff and Bluford charter schools previously managed by Universal Education Companies, reported:  “School board officials said the schools’ demise resulted from repeated instances of adults failing children.”  The Board made clear at this meeting that those adults don’t include them.  

Universal Companies Abandons Two Charter Schools
The Board called this special meeting, with the legally required minimal notice buried the day before in the Inquirer and a brief notice on their website, to approve agreements with the individual boards of Bluford and Daroff charter schools.  President Joyce Wilkerson and Board Members Mallory Fix Lopez, Lisa Salley, Reginald Streater and Sarah-Ashley Andrews attended in person; Leticia Egea-Hinton, Julia Danzy, Chau Wing Lam and Cecelia Thompson  remotely. Superintendent Tony Watlington, after answering the initial roll call, stated he is “still in a learning phase”, then remained silent for the duration of the meeting. 

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