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15 Jan 2016

Councilwoman Helen Gym responds to District announcement on charter conversions

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January 15, 2016 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Huey Elementary School

City Councilwoman Helen Gym has released the following statement in response to the School District of Philadelphia’s announcement regarding Wister Elementary School and the proposed conversions of Cooke and Huey Elementary Schools into Renaissance schools:

“I am pleased that the School District has called off the proposed conversion of Wister Elementary. The flawed data behind the Wister proposal underscores the danger of relying on standardized test data to decide the fate of an entire school community.

helen gym_02

City Councilwoman Helen Gym

For years, parents and community leaders have questioned the rationale behind targeting schools for closure and Renaissance conversion based primarily on standardized test data.

Parents must have a clear voice in shaping their children’s future and a guarantee that charter operators will be held accountable to them and their communities. I hope to work with the District and school communities to ensure that parent voices are prioritized.

Still, I have deep concerns about the future of Cooke and Huey Elementary Schools. In the case of Cooke, the School District has opted to hand the school over to Great Oaks, a charter operator known for its outdated “no excuses” discipline policies that lead to more push-out and less educational opportunity for students.

Finally, in our data-driven environment it’s critically important to stand for a vision of public education that moves beyond test scores and aims to meet the needs of all children in all schools.”

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