School Debate: Should District Help Students Flee to Private Schools?

“Open enrollment” would smooth that process.

How would you prefer the Philadelphia School District spend its time and money? Would you like to see more effort put into fixing the city’s schools? Or would you rather the district make it easier for students to flee to private church and charter schools?

That seems to be the underlying debate over “open enrollment,” a concept being studied by the School Reform Commission.  “The district wants to simplify its student enrollment process so that parents would have to fill out only one form to allow their child to apply to any school within the district,” Fox 29 explains. “Officials say the process would then help parents choose the kind of school they want their child to attend whether it is a district school, charter, or school within the Archdiocese.”


Which is generating consternation from advocates of the city's public schools. "This conversation takes away from investment in neighborhood public schools," said Helen Gym, who is profiled in the most recent issue of Philly Mag. "What parents really want is a concentrated focus prioritization and attention paid to neighborhood schools which are really struggling, and the district needs to pay attention to that rather than tell people to get out." [Fox 29]

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  • J.Oz

    Dear Helen…the Phila School District has been under repair/reform for It is a FAILURE – too many kids leave it’s high schools without a BASIC competency in reading, writing, math, and science. The District has de

    • Helen Gym

      Too bad you weren’t there to explain this to the other 200 people who shared the same sentiment. A couple of simple questions since this is such a no-brainer:

      1)Should the District control its own student placement process or turn it over to a private entity?
      2) Should that private entity be paid a per-pupil fee for each student placed?
      3) Should students be assigned to one school only among all District, charter and Catholic schools? Previously after all, students could choose from an unlimited number of Catholic and charter schools.
      4) Should the District be in the business of enrolling students into Catholic and charter schools?
      5) Should the District be in the business of enrolling student into religious schools which may not abide by public standards of education or access for special needs students?
      6) Should the District be responsible for coordinating vouchers for students to attend religious schools charging tuition?
      7) Should families be required to participate in this enrollment system when schools have the ability to opt out?
      8) Should students’ private information be distributed to non-public entities?
      9) Could student data be released or sold to other businesses (this is happening in NY state where parents are challenging it)?

      10) Should Philadelphia be touting an experimental process more extreme and untested than any other city in the country without any data or information to show its been proven to improve identified problems and priorities within the current system?

      Let me know when you’ve worked out some response.

      • J.Oz

        Sounds like you should send your kid(s) to the nearest Phila. public school. Many other parents CHOOSE to leave the city for better schools.

        Phila. schools are in CRISIS and should be managed as such – CRISIS MANAGEMENT. Google it…

  • DTurner

    Kill the district as a network of public schools and replace it with a network of charter schools, then keep PSD as a education regulatory body, ensuring that the charters are meeting expectations.

    The district has consistently proven that it cannot manage its schools well (state control has not helped, but the problem precedes state control). I am generally not a fan of charters/school choice, but Philly might be one of the few places where it could work, as long as the district is not removed entirely, but acts as a funds disbursement and regulatory body.

    The current situation is untenable, the city must end the charters or eliminate public schools.

  • chaya

    As a former Philadelphia School District teacher, I wholly agree with J.Oz. The chaos, violence, overcrowded classrooms, incompetent administrators, toxic, crumbling buildings, and lack of support for teachers and children existed when I began in 1974 and are worse today. The whole system needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch. I consider it to be a form of racism. Minority children cannot get an education here that will prepare them for higher education and life. The dropout rate is beyond shameful. Suburban parents wouldn’t put up with it for one second. I would have thrown myself under a bus before I would send my children to school here. Shame on those who have perpetuated this abysmal mess.

  • Dave Stevens

    Inner city schools in Philly are organized for failure. There are no real jobs which can take them out of poverty, and survival on the streets is the only real option for many. The problem for the poor is that hope for a better future is now gone. The Globalists have prevailed…