What is the Rush to Renew Keystone Charter?

by Ilene Poses

Testimony to BOE on 10/22/2020

What is the rush to renew Keystone Charter?
I thought that there were procedures for charter renewal.
Keystone was not brought up at the Student Achievement committee meeting held last week.
Where is the charter agreement? Why is it not in the Item the public sees tonight ? The public needs to carefully look at each resolution and have input. That’s why there is a Sunshine Act so the public can give its input for resolutions that effect us all.

This reminds me of the fast opening to a Cole Porter song, “Kiss Me Kate,” starting “Another opening, another show…”:

Another renewal without the info
This time it’s Keystone that’s on the show
A chance for a charter to grow and grow
Another renewal with no info.

I urge the Board not to delete Policy 141 and close the door to any future oversight. Policy 141 allows the Board to invoke its own  DISCRETION to take the schools back.  We now have local control of our schools so why have the Board now given some of that control–oversight of Renaissance charters–back to Harrisburg? The agreement was deliberately written differently from other charters to give the district more oversight over them.
Renaissance Charters promised to turn the schools around and all the data shows they have not. Nineteen of the twenty one schools have SPR Achievement scores in INTERVENE [lowest category] for the past three years.
APPS data shows that the number of students from the catchment areas has steadily declined as the charter operators recruit from outside the area. Renaissance charters have failed our students.

On the matter of choice –
Tomeo Sippio-Smith in a 10/20/20 Inquirer letter wrote about the issue of choice for Black parents –
“The Manhattan Institute, failed to highlight that their own survey found that Black parents’ top pick among the school choice options to assure that their child had the best education are public schools – well funded and provided with the resources they need to truly educate our children.” She ends, “Giving any parent a failing choice for the sake of giving them a choice is no choice.”

So I say –
(sing to Take Me Out To the Ball Game)

Take back Renaissance Schools
Please follow – McGinley’s lead.
Do not eliminate 1-4-1
Cedes to the state, a virtual home run
For it’s many years of failed Ren. results
They proved they did not succeed
Now let’s boost, boost, boost district schools
With the tools they need!