Wednesday, June 16, 2010

KIPP Philadelphia appeal

Even (or, perhaps, especially) when charters are successful, the anti-charter folks want to kill them, which is exactly what's happening in Philadelphia.  Here's an email from KIPP Philadelphia founder Marc Manella.  Please support KIPP and charters in Philadelphia by making two quick phone calls (see below):


Dear KIPPsters, friends, and supporters:


All 26 charters who have applied to the School District of Philadelphia for permission to expand next year, including KIPP Philadelphia, got bad news from the District on Friday. A District official told us all on a conference call that NO expansion requests would be voted on at the June 16th ...School Reform Commission (SRC – Philly's school board) meeting, despite the District previously telling everyone the vote would be in June. As many of you know this has been a 2-year fight for us, and we are staring defeat squarely in the eye. If there is no vote on June 16th, KIPP Philadelphia's high school and elementary school will not open in the 2010-2011 school year.

If you have ever wondered "I like KIPP, but I don't know how I can help" - here's your chance. We are asking for anyone who can help us in this effort to please do so today, Tuesday, or Wednesday, in one of two ways:

1.) We believe the most impactful thing we can do now is have as many people as possible tell Superintendent Ackerman and the SRC that you believe they should honor the wishes of our families and community by voting on KIPP's expansion request. If you don't directly know these folks, you can call Dr. Ackerman at 215-400-4100, and Commissioners Girard-diCarlo, Irrizary, Armbrister, Dworetzky, and Archie at 215-400-4010. Please be respectful and polite – you will most likely get their receptionist after all, and this mess isn't his or her fault. Ask them how denying children who wish to go to KIPP is acting in the best interest of students. Then ask them to make it right, and vote on our charter expansion on June 16. You do not have to live in Philadelphia, or have children you are trying to enroll in a KIPP Philadelphia school, to help. The more calls are made, the more we are hoping they realize the enormity of the consequences of their refusal to act.

2.) The second-most impactful thing you can do is to join us at this Wednesday's SRC meeting. Two months ago 80+ KIPP parents joined us at District headquarters for an SRC meeting to show support for our expansion request – despite the meeting being held at 2:00 on a work day. This time we are hoping even more parents and supporters can show the District that our voices are not to be dismissed, and that we need to be heard. Details on how to join us at this meeting will follow in a separate message.

While Friday's news was bad, this is not over. We are not going to sit idly by as the desires, hopes, and dreams of our families and communities are ignored. On behalf of the over 300 students on our high school and elementary interest list and their families, potential KIPPsters who's chance to attend a KIPP school is in danger, thank you in advance for your help. There is no second chance for these 300 children to attend a KIPP school – this is their final shot. Please help us send more children to college – if you have a phone, please call the School District of Philadelphia right now.


Marc Mannella, CEO KIPP Philadelphia Schools

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