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]