Hello! With so much up in the air for the Philadelphia School District, every School Reform Commission meeting is a big one. Tonight's meeting, scheduled to begin at 5:30, is no different.
The two biggest items on the agenda are Renaissance school approvals and charter closures.
Renaissance schools: the SRC will vote on whether to give four struggling district-run schools to charter organizations. The four - Creighton, Cleveland, H.R. Edmunds and Jones - will likely be matched with Universal, Mastery, String Theory and American Paradigm, respectively, if the SRC adopts recommendations made by its staff.
But some people aren't happy about the decision to turn these schools into charters, continuing the district's strategy of handing over low-performing schools to outside organizations. Some members of the Creighton, Edmunds and Cleveland communities have said the district failed to give them adequate resources to improve and is now giving up on them. They also suggest their selection for the Renaissance program was politically motivated.
Thomas Darden, the district official in charge of the Renaissance program, said that was not the case, that politics played no part in the decision.
"That's just completely false," Darden said. "Internally to the district, we went through an exhaustive analysis to name these schools Renaissance schools."
The SRC will also vote on recommendations to close three troubled charters - Arise Academy, Hope Charter and Truebright Charter. Supporters of each say they are turning around and should not be closed.