I think folks around here are a tad upset upon learning from the Philly papers that Chester Community Charter School is busing in over a thousand students from Philly. I wasn’t aware Philly kids as young as 4 years old where taking long bus rides to attend school in Chester.

Here are my thoughts based on what I read in the article.


I didn’t know charter schools could recruit from outside the public school district they’re attached to. But, I should have known when I consider how the cyber charter schools used to be in far away school districts, but no one cared because they were cyber and you didn’t have to visit them since you did your work on the computer at home.

Catholic schools and private schools are permitted to recruit. You see it a lot in sports but we don’t hear much about recruiting students.

So, why can’t your ordinary run of the mill public school recruit? If charter schools are publicly funded (but privately run) why do they have this loophole?

If you’ve read my previous pieces on education, you’ll remember that I’m the guy who supports regional school districts over local school districts. But, why have a school district at all if everyone except a public school can recruit?

It seems like the only purpose of a public school district is to be the entity which  funnels money to other schools who can load up with students from anywhere.

Of course, there are some great public school districts. But, we’re not talking about them here.

The Chester Community Charter magic

These guys are some of the best business people you’ll find anywhere. They understand the educational environment, the laws, the politics, the loopholes, the students, and the profit sweet spots.

What they still have yet to learn is how to get their kids to pass the state tests.

You’ve got to love what their public relations guy says when addressing test scores…

Crawley said children from low-income families “consistently suffer in comparison to high-income students” on standardized tests.

Well! That settles that!

I’m willing to bet that their PR guy is doing their marketing stuff, too. And it’s working. They’ve grown from 45 Philly kids to 1,131 Philly kids in just 3 years.

I’m reminded of the old Chester-Upland superintendent knocking on Chester doors trying to get kids to stay in the district and being all excited that he allegedly convinced a couple hundred families. I doubt if Chester Community Charter is up on 9th & Diamond, 52nd & Market, or in Point Breeze knocking on any doors.

Philadelphia officials also say that Chester Community has mounted an aggressive marketing campaign and distributed glossy fliers

If the school is really profiting the millions of dollars the paper says they are, setting aside 3 to 5% for marketing is a customary expense. When done well, you can expect to get results.

Philly’s reaction

As much as the Philadelphia school district would rather those kids stay in Philly, it seems they’re not putting up much of a fight because most of these kids are coming from Philly charter schools that closed – usually because of poor academic performance. The money the Philly school district is sending to Chester is a wash since they were spending it at the old Philly charter schools, anyway.

Chester’s reaction

We never react to anything. We just shake our heads in disgust and keep it moving.

Chester Community Charter reaction

They’ve been given the green light to keep growing. So, I expect they’ll keep recruiting far and wide.

Not much more to see here, people. Y’all can get back to what you were doing.