• Joanne Jacobs

Anti-choice folks choose for their own kids

People who exercise choice in educating their own children want black parents to exercise patience, writes Sharif El-Mekki, principal of Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia.

Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia is open to all students.


His middle-class friends choose their children’s schools, exert pressure to get their children the best teachers and pay for “tutoring, trips, camps, and experiences that can supplement what they believe their children need,” writes El-Mekki.

Many “choose their schools by choosing the neighborhood (gentrified, suburban, etc.) they can afford to live in,” he adds.

Others declare charter schools are not public, yet send their children to district schools that “segregate entry by the abilities of children.”

Charter schools that are open to any child are far more public than magnet and criteria-based schools that select based off of the highest test scores, best attendance, most talented interviewee, and most astonishing presentation by student applicants. In Philadelphia, what is most vexing are the politicians whose children attend magnet and criteria-based schools; schools that have historically been closed to most Black children, have less children in poverty than the city’s average, have less students with special needs or ELL support, and who screen entry of its students studiously, and vigilantly. Despite all of these barriers to entry, these politicians blast charter schools and school choice and champion their almost-impossible-to-get-in-if-I’m-Black schools as the definition of public.

Magnet schools are part of Philadelphia’s portfolio of schools, writes El-Mekki. So are charters.

In Nashville, some school board members think too many parents are speaking in favor of charter schools, reports Amanda Haggard for Nashville Scene. More than half the board wasn’t present at a recent meeting when parents backed two new LEAD charter schools.

(Board member Will) Pinkston says he “strongly suspect(s) that few, if any, of them are actual constituents of mine and furthermore, we all know what LEAD’s position is. They stack public participation at every meeting to get their message across and frankly, I think it’s starting to backfire on them. Some of us have been sitting through this for years.”

Anna Shepherd, chair of the school board, announced that groups will not be allowed to sign up speakers for the public comment period.

#blacks #parents #Philadelphia #choice #middleclass #Nashville

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