Transcript of the testimony of Lynda Rubin

Click the picture above and move the slider to timestamp 29:40 to view Lynda’s testimony.

Lynda Rubin

Excellent Schools PA, the newly renamed PR arm of the Philadelphia School Partnership or PSP, which helps fund and promote charter schools in Philadelphia is suing the SRC over Policy 406 – which spells out the procedures for charters to amend their agreements with the School District.

For years, charters have shouted far and wide that they are “public schools too” and that they are the saviors of the failing public school system. But, when it comes to abiding by even someof the oversight that public schools are under these charter organizations rebel. Real public schools can have their budgets slashed, their programs cut and teachers forced out, their buildings allowed to deteriorate and be closed without question caused not only by funding cuts but also because of the diversion of ever-growing District funds to charter schools.

But charter schools have chafed over even the barest of oversight. Charters become angry when the District negotiates with them to make sure that these so-called public schools are answerable to – someone public – and not just the pockets of their hedge-funders and wealthy backers from the suburbs. They demanded that they meet with you privately – so the public won’t know what they’re really demanding – even though, or perhaps because,  it was revealed that the SRC met with charter heads secretly for 6 months last year. Many conditions they simply ignore. I sit here and wonder why they care about the conditions since they’re not enforced anyway. I guess being placed in Intervene and Watch categories year after year doesn’t mean anything for charter accountability. And now they’re using their muscle and PR factory to sue the District in the final months of the SRC – perhaps as a PR threat to get you to reverse your recent denials for new applications before you go? Don’t do it.

Franklin Towne Charter with its large number of political-connected backers and which already has a K-8 and a high school both of which have an overwhelming majority of white students and no ELL students – wants a middle school, too. They effectively have grades K-12. If they want to integrate more, let them integrate those schools.

APM – whose CEO walked out in a huff at your denial because although they are a community organization, they have little to no educational experience and you found their plan deficient educationally on many levels. I sat through their hearings, by the way, and this community school application wasn’t putting community services inside the school, but simply referring students out as other schools already do. Importantly, although APM states that a reason for opening this school is because parents of their pre-school program have begged them to open an elementary school, both the application and their own testimony reveal that these children will NOT have preference for admission.

Are Excellent Schools PA and these charter re-applications just trying to weasel their way in the door before this SRC goes out?