Testimony of Emanuel Ramos, Public Hearing for New Charter Schools, December 20, 2019

Hi, my name is Emanuel Ramos and I’m a senior testifying on behalf of Kensington Health Sciences Academy because I oppose the creation of the charter school for Health Sciences Leadership.

Why would you invest money into a new charter school? Instead of continuing to support the neighborhood schools like Kensington that will take us how we are and develop us rather than take only those who fit a certain mold?

Personally, I went to two charter middle schools: Tacony and Esperanza. For both schools I didn’t fit the criteria. The uniform was too expensive and if I didn’t have the tie, I would get a violation. If I came late, I would get a detention instead of help with my problems. I had to act like nothing was happening at home and when I finally had the guts to open up to my principal and counselor, they looked at me as if they were better than me because of their background.

At a charter school, they can kick you out and send you back to your neighborhood school. This is what ended up happening to me after nothing worked. When it was time for me to apply to high schools in eighth grade, I knew I wasn’t going to make it in, so I just went to my neighborhood school where I was assigned.

In ninth grade, I had 54 absences, 103 latenesses, and wasn’t even thinking about graduation. But, at Kensington Health Sciences they understand my situation. The teachers knew their goal was to make sure I received the same education as those kids in charter schools, despite all the external conflicts that prevent a child from reaching their full potential. At Kensington they will find out what your talent is and make sure you graduate doing something you love. The staff at this school works relentlessly with families to break the stereotype of not being able to become successful because of your background. In my school, I have a voice. In my school, I matter. If it wasn’t for this neighborhood school, I have no idea where I’d be today, and I probably would have been another statistic.

Why invest in a whole new school when there are already multiple schools that have these programs? You’re making me and every student in this building feel like we are born to become nothing, taking the only platform that we have.

Students like me want equality. We want education. We want respect. We want our neighborhood high schools to be a great place for a child from the inner city to get an education.