Last Sunday, an article by Kristin Graham appeared in the Inquirer about the tortured history of Kenderton Elementary School. The “full blown chaos” referred to in the article was actually caused by the District and SRC repeatedly giving Kenderton School away to failing charter operators: first to the for-profit Edison, Inc. and after that failed, to Young Scholars Inc., who actually walked away because it cost them too much. Your penchant for pre-packaged programs and business operators instead of building a District run unified pedagogically-based educational plan that actually supports teachers and students has been destroying our schools. Shereeda Cromwell and fellow Kenderton parents finally publicly stormed into this very auditorium last year crying and demanding District intervention. So now this K-8 school with 465 students has a new principal, an assistant principal, a school psychologist, 2 counselors, 6 climate workers (I assume the new name for NTA’s), a cohort of classroom assistants, a school police officer and the luxury of class sizes of 20 students or less in grades K-3.
I’m thrilled for them. But 14 years of your bad choices have led to years of academic failure that these children will never get back and now you’re taking a victory lap for something you just put into place – and only then because angry parents made you look bad in the press.
What about all of the other neighborhood schools with thousands of students from whom you’ve taken away resources that we don’t read about? Why aren’t they getting what you’re suddenly pouring into Kenderton and act like you’re doing something? It’s like starving someone then blaming them for losing weight!
Torch Lytle, a Penn professor and a principal I once worked for, was quoted as saying, “Now, let’s see if it lasts.” And by that he means the bountiful resources and staff you’ve so recently bestowed upon Kenderton? Because after all, there’s no assurance how long you will continue to fund these supports now that you’ve gotten your good headline in the press.
For that matter, why are Aspira and Universal schools still open 19 months after you proposed closing them for academic failure and with Aspira – gross financial mismanagement – with absolutely NO ACTION taken to actually close them? Did you think we’d forget?
How did you not realize that Blankenburg Elementary School was deteriorating when for years they existed without a counselor & other supports despite children and families living in homeless shelters and several years of Blankenburg having to take in an influx of students from several other schools around them that you closed.
The decline of the School District didn’t just happen and it’s not the fault of bad teachers. It was caused by State underfunding AND your decisions to spend millions of dollars on education businesses instead of on educating children yourselves.
We need to put our children’s education before business interests and a Board willing to do that.