No one was entirely happy with the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC)'s vote last week to approve five new charter schools for the district (out of a total of 39 applicants), but for many of the protestors crowding the meeting room, the vote was at least a small victory to limit the financial burden charters have on Philadelphia's already financially struggling public schools.
In a platform released ahead of the May city elections, the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools called for a moratorium on charter school expansion. During the SRC meeting, retired teachers like Rich Migliore, and education advocates like Susan Grobreski of Education Voters PA entreated the commission to refuse any new applications until, at the very least, a fair state school funding formula was in place. Other speakers, like parent Bob Previdi, pointed out that charter schools do not represent the same diverse student body public schools do. And Majorie Neff, the only one to vote against all charters, argued she found deficiencies in all the applications.
Protests took place throughout the evening meeting, with members of both Action United and Youth United for Change demonstrating to show their support for public education. The SRC ended up banning all signs, leading to claims that protesters' first amendment rights were being violated.
You can read more about the vote, including live coverage from the event, here.