Tonight's strategy, policy and planning (read: non-voting) School Reform Commission meeting has a lofty title: "Options for Increasing Students' Access to Better Schools." Hard to argue with that concept, right? All kids deserve top-notch schools. Let's figure out how to make that happen, or at least how to begin to make that happen.
Not everyone agrees on how to get to the goal, however.
At the meeting, a panel will discuss four options: developing new schools, replicating good schools, Renaissance schools (a district process that includes handing over low-performing district schools to charters) and improving district schools.
I'm hearing a lot of pushback from folks who believe that conversations like these are just a roundabout way to continue shrink the district - accelerating charter growth and reducing the size of the traditional public school system.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan took on that topic in his blog today.
"At the center of any meaningful dialogue surrounding our schools should be the neighborhood school," Jordan wrote. "We have spent too much time and money advocating for closing 'failing' schools, for expanding 'good' schools and for 'turning around' schools. We have allowed ourselves to define success based on test scores, an exercise that makes it too easy for us to label our teachers, schools, students and families, and communities as under-achieving failures."