The topic of education has come up a lot in the past few weeks especially considering the decisions being made on how schools will respond to the coronavirus. Some colleges are going all online, some are limiting the campus to just freshman and sophomores. Local school districts are going from fully open to a mix of in-school/home-school. Others still haven’t decided. 

Even before ‘Rona complicated education, the Chester-Upland School district was hit with several consequential changes like a judge’s order to immediately put the For Sale signs up around the entire district; they named a new receiver; and he appointed a new superintendent. That’s a heck of a summer break if you ask me. 

I’m not sure about the other charter school operators but I’m pretty certain the Chester Community Charter School will be bidding on some of the Chester-Upland schools. The concept of school choice is very limited in Chester when there isn’t much variety to choose from.

I know it’s not being considered, but maybe one day someone would consider allowing students to use school vouchers to attend other schools in the county. Just like Chester-Upland funding follows the student to the charter schools, it could work the same way if the student attended Strath Haven, Garnet Valley, Haverford, Radnor, etc. 

A Delco guy told me the housing prices in his town remain where they are so middle class families and below can’t afford to move there. The town’s folks biggest issue is maintaining their top-10 ranking among Pennsylvania school districts. To his credit, he considers his town folks full of crap for thinking that way, but that’s the way they are.

I offered him this risk free experiment to prove his town’s people right or wrong without moving anyone into their exclusive township. It goes like this…

  1. Through some intelligent process, we’d identify 5 Chester-Upland students to attend his school and use a voucher to pay their education.
  2. At the end of the school year, they will remove the 5 lowest performing students from their school district in order to maintain their school ranking. 
  3. If any of the 5 lowest performers are the Chester-Upland student, we’ll take them back, otherwise they can to stay another year if they like. 

The only reason the rich community wouldn’t go for that deal is because they’d be afraid a few of their existing students would not make the cut and have to transfer somewhere else. But, it will prove their concern really isn’t about their school ranking since the ranking will remain the same, or improve. 

This could work at any school. If we had a regional school district mindset it could easily give good students in a bad school district the opportunity to be a good student in a much better school district. But, closed minds maintain that poor districts must continue to put out poor education choices resulting in poorly prepared students who only perpetuate the burden on the community that didn’t/couldn’t educate them. 

What is happening in Chester schools for September? Are they opening or are all those Chromebooks going be put to use with on-line learning? Find out on Wednesday and Thursday.

 school forum