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Chester-Upland school district is one of the poorest in the state. Seventy percent of its students are black. One big charter school, owned and operated by a wealthy Republican lawyer from Philadelphia, already dominates the district with his Chester Community Charter School. The district has been in receivership and under state control for years. Even though CCCS is a low-performing charter, the state’s only idea is to hand over all the schools to charter operators.
This is an important story, well told by this reporter. It follows the template for charterization: Underfund a predominately African-American school district for years, then have the state take control because of financial issues. Strip the school board of all power and appoint a single “receiver” to make all decisions. Begin the charterization process with as little transparency as possible knowing that parents and community do not want it. Put out RFPs to charter companies. Hold one meeting at which parents, educators and community make clear their opposition but feel that the fix is in despite their wishes. Receiver, who is not accountable to the community or the voters, makes his decision.