Our Take on the SRC Not Approving Friendship Charter School

Last week, several families visited schools operated by Friendship Charter Public Schools in Washington DC. We spent an entire day meeting principals, visiting classrooms, and asking questions. We published an OpEd in the Daily News about our experience, and this is what we thought of our visit to Friendship.

“What we observed bolstered our belief that Friendship Whittier would be a great school in our neighborhood. Friendship runs similar schools in predominantly African American neighborhoods in Washington DC, and there is no question that Friendship schools get results. We saw with our own eyes how they do it: implementing a true community school model, recruiting and supporting great Black teachers, hiring non-teaching staff directly from the community, and cultivating an affirming environment of love, safety, and support. Friendship is a place where our children can reach their potential.”

We encourage you to visit a Friendship Charter School to see what we saw. Then you too will feel the anger we now feel, knowing that Friendship isn’t coming to Philadelphia. The SRC can say whatever they want, but we visited several Tier 1 schools in DC run by Black educators for Black children. Which is more than we can say for some of the schools in our community.

For example, Rhodes Elementary School is the nearest school to Whittier where Friendship would have opened. Here are a few facts about Rhodes:

  1. On the most recent state assessment test, just 2.9 percent of Rhodes students were proficient in math, and only 15 percent were proficient in reading;
  2. On the last School Performance Rating, Rhodes ranked 135th out of 139 schools citywide;
  3. For the school year, 40 percent of Rhodes teachers were absent for 10 days or more.

Does this sound like the kind of school where our children will reach their full potential? The SRC got it wrong today, and more importantly, they’ve communicated to all Black families how little they care about our children’s education.

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