Chester Upland is a district that has struggled with issues and money and racism for decades; they are the history of every problem facing public education in the last century, right up to and including the gutting of a public education system by privatizing charter operators. Poorer and Blacker than all surrounding districts, they have suffered through one damn thing after another.
Chester Upland School District has been under the state's thumb via a declaration of financial collapse for about a decade. The court has been in charge of the district, and has okayed the idea of letting the charters that have drained the districts of resources go ahead and buy up the last of the bits.
It's hard to track everything that has happened because so little of it has happened in public view, but three charter organizations have now submitted plans for partial charter takeover of the district's schools.
The three proposals were pitched at a meeting that was presented in person and on line, and critics of the plan were not impressed.Harris indicated Thursday’s presentation was designed to communicate Friendship’s philosophy rather than what could be read about the plan elsewhere, while GLA CEO and Principal of GLA Southwest Tamika Evans said this was essentially a first meeting with the community.
But Public Interest Law Center attorney Claudia De Palma, who represents four district parents and an advocacy organization, noted this was the only scheduled meeting where community members could probe the proposals being made.
“I think most people expected it to be a bit of a sales pitch, but I expected it to be a more specific sales pitch and it wasn’t even that,” she said. “If the good faith intention is to at least inform the community … then you need information, which is really the bare minimum. It just feels like it keeps getting kicked down the road.”