This is an article by two members of Philadelphia Charter Schools for Excellence, in fact they are leaders of the group.
This is truly a whopper of an op ed. It in effect says that it does not harm public schools if a student takes 2/3 of the pupil funding with them....though it only leaves about a third for the public school to function.
You can not have highly functioning public schools if you strip them of resources.
I can not believe these charter supporters thought this would be convincing.
They are advocating more charter schools as the schools in Philly are being closed. Neighborhood schools. Parents, students, teachers have been protesting these closings. No one is listening. I believe 23 last I heard.
In light of the concerns raised by the announcement of school closings in the city, our colleagues at Philadelphia Charters for Excellence (PCE) want School District officials and families to know that we are here, standing by to welcome more students into our schools.The irony is that the loss of students and per-student funding to charter schools is part of the "harsh fiscal reality."
The closings are inevitable for a district that must manage within the framework of a harsh fiscal reality. Given this scenario, the good news is that not only are charters educating children at a fraction of the cost, but they in turn are able to channel more money to children remaining at district schools.
The spin is amazing.
Still, many people blame charters for the school closings. Critics say that charters are "draining resources" from district schools or that the money is going to for-profit companies. They want a moratorium on charter growth. What some do not realize is that charters are public schools voluntarily chosen by parents for their children, and almost all in Philadelphia are run by nonprofit entities focused on educating urban youths.I do partially blame the opening of more charters for the public school closings. That is the spoken intent of both parties right now....more and more and more charter schools. Charter schools receive public taxpayer money, but they do have high attrition rates and are not regulated like public schools. Sort of an in-name only thing.
There are large crowds protesting the Philly public school closures. So I guess the reformers are now having to spin more to counteract the negative angry feelings from the public.
If money continues to be taken away from public schools, they will have to adjust their situation and goals to fewer students. That's a real Catch22.
If they become under-utilized, some cities will close them. Thus the neighborhood schools which often serve as community centers will close because they don't have enough students or resources.
It's happening in Philadelphia right now. From the Philadelphia Public School Notebook:
Like most of the public, I’ve been baffled by the District’s latest rationale for closing down an unprecedented number of schools in a single year. In observing the school hearings this week, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou: “There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”
That statement couldn’t ring more true when looking at the District’s proposal to close down one in six Philadelphia schools, including wiping out 9 public schools in the 19121 and 19132 zip codes (plus Vaux will no longer be a high school). The plan will disrupt the lives of 17,000 children in the District – more than 10 percent of the population – for a questionable savings that amounts to barely 1 percent of the District budget.
.....The District comes to the table with a chosen set of facts: utilization, capacity, facilities condition index, and so on. Based on these numbers, the District argues, it is below optimal utilization. The District is shrinking. But is it?
It’s worth remembering that in the spring, the School Reform Commission authorized an unprecedented expansion of more than 5,000 charter seats at a projected cost of $139 million over five years – at a time when Chief Recovery Officer Tom Knudsen threatened that schools may not even open in September. Among the expansions were a 1,400-student high school for Performing Arts Charter, even though the District already has four performing arts high schools drawing from a citywide population. Charters with school performance index figures that ranked them among the worst in the District received five-year renewals and expansions. In fact, of the 26 charters up for renewal last spring, the SRC voted to close just three, and two are appealing.