Philadelphia public officials head to Denver in pursuit of district-charter collaboration best practices

Nutter taking aim at low-performing Philadelphia schools

By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer

The city and the Philadelphia School District will move aggressively on a pledge to eliminate 50,000 seats in the lowest-performing city schools, Mayor Nutter promised Tuesday.

Nutter and members of the School Reform Commission will travel to Denver this week to examine how schools work there. Denver has decentralized many of its school operations and was one of the first cities in the United States to sign a compact promoting cooperation between its school district and charter schools. Philadelphia recently adopted its own “Great Schools Compact,” winning $100,000 and the chance at millions more from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the key tenets of the compact is transforming 50,000 seats in failing public schools through school closings and charter conversions.

“Reform, restructure, replace. That’s where we are. That’s where we’re going in public education in Philadelphia,” Nutter said at a news conference at Dunbar Elementary, a district-run Promise Academy, or turnaround school. Nutter, who took the oath of office Monday for his second term, has again identified education as a priority of his administration.