As a resident of Philadelphia and a parent, I appreciate the real challenges facing the School District and the decision the SRC has to approve or deny new charter applications. The budget disaster is mostly caused by a lack of funding from the state and makes it really hard for the district to do lots of things they wish they could. It's a huge issue I've written about and understandably colors the charter approval process. But if you listen to some advocates recently, you would think there are no charters worthy of approval and that's just not true. While some schools applying don't serve high need students or don't serve them well, you can't reasonably make that case about KIPP Philadelphia. While we are always looking to do better for our students, we know that we serve all kids and serve them well at KIPP Philly. Some quick examples of our results:
We have also been a leader in transparency with our Open Book section of our website and our enrollment practices have been held up by the district and the Education Law Center as models for other charter to emulate.
While Donna Cooper is right that we don't want to harm one child by helping another, the status quo right now means tens of thousands of kids in Philadelphia are in low-performing schools. By doing nothing and rejecting even high-quality charter schools, we are causing them continued harm. The SRC can make targeted approvals of the best charter applicants committed to serving high-need students and help more climb the mountain to and through college.