School opens for some Philadelphia students

Despite heated rhetoric and daily news coverage of the challenges facing many Philadelphia schools this fall, some students have already returned to school and are working to achieve high-quality academic results.  Here’s great coverage of the opening of three schools in our investment portfolio:

KIPP Elementary School returns for new school year, Fox29

Students walk the red carpet at Young Scholars Frederick Douglass, CBS Philly

New 6th grade students start school at Boys’ Latin, ABC6

What’s different about schools like this?

Unlike those who insist that our education crisis is purely financial and that reforms don’t matter, these schools know that money alone does not make a school great. Principals at these schools can recruit and hire the best teachers to meet the needs of their students – and there’s no reason that shouldn’t be true for all schools citywide.

At PSP we believe that without real reforms like this, Philadelphia will only prop up a system that has under-served low-income and minority students for decades. Parents, voters, and educators agree:

Over 80% of Philadelphians support reforms including giving principals more say in which teachers are hired according to a recent citywide poll [Global Strategy Group, May 1-5, 2013]

The Coalition for Effective Teaching — a broad based group of youth-focused nonprofit organizations – has called on both the District and the teachers’ union to support meaningful changes to how teachers are hired and compensated

According to one principal quoted in a recent groundbreaking report: “I don’t know how principals can effectively staff for success—it’s unfair when we are not being given the autonomy to make judgment calls about teachers.”

Like Mayor Nutter, Governor Corbett, Superintendent Hite, and every other party to this crisis, we’re waiting to see the PFT collaborate on a long-term solution that ensures every child in Philadelphia can receive a high-quality education. In the meantime, we will continue working to ensure that more students have access to great schools like KIPP, Scholar Academies, and Boys’ Latin.