This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Response to April 22 blog post, “Despite grim District budget, Philadelphia charters seek 15,000 new seats.”
The Notebook reported that 21 Philadelphia charter schools are seeking to add more than 15,000 new students during the next five years. This does not seem unreasonable given the fact that thousands of parents and families are on waiting lists desperately hoping to get their child into a high-quality Philadelphia charter school. This overwhelming demand is a strong testament to the crushing need Philadelphia families have for public school choice.
There is no question that the current District leadership has inherited a horrible financial situation. However, parents should not be penalized for historically poor financial stewardship, nor should the future of our children be sacrificed to special interests defending the status quo.
It is imperative that we work together to enroll as many students as possible into high-quality seats in all types of schools as quickly as possible. That is exactly the purpose of the Great Schools Compact, which the School Reform Commission, the District, and the charter school community have pledged to support. The future of our children must have at least as much weight as financial concerns in any expansion decision.
The writer is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.