This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Supporters and opponents of the plan to transform Philadelphia’s Wister Elementary into a Mastery charter school squared off last night in Germantown. As Mastery prepared to make its pitch to parents, protesters gathered outside to make their displeasure known.
"They’re trying to ram their educational bullcrap down our throats, and I think it’s unfair," said parent Kenya Nation, who believes that Wister should remain under control of the Philadelphia School District.
"We can turn this into a community school," Nation said, referring to a model that relies on partnerships with neighborhood organizations and that has won praise from incoming mayor Jim Kenney. "The time it would take a charter school to turn around this place, is the same time it would take a community school to turn around this place."
Nation says the School Reform Commission can expect an earful from charter opponents like her when it meets Thursday night.