Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Charter school's fate now up to SRC

The fate of a North Philadelphia charter school will soon be back in the hands of the School Reform Commission after 10 days of testimony concluded Friday.

Charter school's fate now up to SRC

The fate of a North Philadelphia charter school will soon be back in the hands of the School Reform Commission after 10 days of testimony concluded Friday.

The Philadelphia School District seeks to shut down the Truebright Science Academy Charter School, citing problems with academic performance and lack of certified teachers.  The SRC, in a nonrenewal vote last year, also cited allegations that the charter's board did not respond to concerns of staff or parents.

One witness, a former administrator, testified last month that Truebright lacked a curriculum and said it claimed to offer Advanced Placement courses that did not exist.

But Truebright's chief administrator disputed that, and testified that the school met state academic goals in 2012.

In a statement issued Friday, a Truebright spokeswoman said that the district's charter school office "has patently failed to present any evidence, let alone compelling and substantial evidence" that would support the SRC's nonrenewal vote. 

The school blasted the district, saying its claims against Truebright fall "more in the category of innuendo and unproven accusations with little substance" and "in no way in demonstrate violation of charter school law."

Truebright is one of more than 130 charter schools that have been linked to Fettulah Gulen, a controversial Turkish imam who lives in the Poconos.

Truebright's board, top administrators, and a third of its teachers are Turkish. Many are working in the United States on nonimmigrant visas.

School officials have denied that Truebright has ties to Gulen.

With the formal hearing over, the hearing officer must make a report to the SRC, which will again vote on the renewal.


About this blog

Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham writes the Philly School Files blog, where she covers education in Philadelphia, both in and out of the classroom.

During the school year, you’ll frequently find her hosting live chats about the district on Philly.com.

Please do pass along the scoop about what’s going on at your Philadelphia public school; Kristen welcomes tips, story ideas and witty banter.


Kristen Graham Inquirer Staff Writer
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