Testimony of Karel Kilimnik, Public Hearing for New Charter Schools, December 20, 2019

Good evening. I am totally opposed to the approval of the Joan Brown Myers String Theory charter school and the High School of Health Sciences Leadership Charter School applications. HS2L is a laundry list of education products being purchased. Their future CEO said “Charter schools, where they’re successful, they’re opportunities for innovation.”  This application already funded with a grant from PSP shows little innovation. This is not the first time PSP has inserted itself into the charter application process with claims of community support that are false. They set up meetings and then include that organization as a supporter when that is not the case. Are these misleading practices ones that you condone?

As to opportunities for innovation this application reveals a reliance on testing and data collection as well as a commitment to purchasing and using education products.    Products such as MAP Growth developed by NWEA that makes over $130 million annually testing students “an assessment in a box” according to education blogger Peter Greene. Greene continues…”Here’s another abhorrent feature of the company that brought us the MAP test. They now offer a feature that tells you whether or not the student taking the computer test is engaged or not. They believe that by analyzing the speed with which a student is answering questions, they can determine whether or not said student is trying. During test time, the teacher dashboard will toss up a little warning icon beside the name of any not-trying-hard-enough student so that the teacher can “redirect” the student. Just to remind everyone-testing is not teaching.

According to this application facilitating Professional Development would be outside consultants such as Jounce, Relay, TNTP. All  lack evidence based research as to their effectiveness. Why are they relying on outside vendors when at least two partner organizations have colleges of education?

If Temple, Drexel, CCP, and PCOM are so committed to working with students interested in entering the Health field why are they not developing partnerships and enhancing those already in existence with KHSA, Mastbaum, Randolph, Sayre, Robeson, Edison, MLK, Lincoln,Overbrook,S Philadelphia, Swenson, and FLC? None of the partner organizations pay PILOTS and now they are supporting a charter school application that would drain money  from schools with existing Health Related CTE programs? Why? What do they stand to gain because our students stand to lose so much.