PHILADELPHIA – Jonathan Cetel, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now (PennCAN), issued the following statement on tonight’s School Reform Commission (SRC) vote that will determine the fate of seven Renaissance Schools:
“We cautiously support the Charter Office’s recommendation to non-renew the four Renaissance Schools operated by Universal and Aspira. Unlike in previous years, the recommendations are based on a rigorous review of the schools’ progress towards meeting clearly defined standards of academic performance, organizational compliance and financial health.
While PennCAN supports accountability for all schools, including traditional public schools and charter schools, we recognize that a struggling Renaissance School leaves its community with a choice between two equally regrettable options: It’s unfair to taxpayers and families to renew a school that is failing to meet standards but it’s even more unfair to return control back to the same district that failed these communities for nearly a decade.
We hope that a non-renewal vote will begin an effort to search for creative solutions that provide better options for the thousands of students in these schools.
We also strongly encourage the SRC to approve the three new Renaissance Schools. The same rigorous review process that recommended non-renewal for the Universal and Aspira schools was used to evaluate the applications for the new schools. The ongoing success of Mastery Charter Schools proves that the Renaissance program can work, and the relentless advocacy of parents shows that the community desperately wants change. The best way to drive systemic change is to continuously open new schools, and then close or change the ones that aren’t meeting the needs of students. Today’s vote will allow the SRC to do both.”
PennCAN: Launched in May 2012, PennCAN: The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education reform advocacy organization building a movement of Pennsylvanians with the political will to enact smart public policies so that every Pennsylvania child has access to a great public school.