Sep 20

CLE Statement Regarding Franklin Towne Charter High School

As an advocate for students with disabilities and charter schools, I am appalled at the current situation at Franklin Towne Charter High School and urge the Philadelphia School Board to pursue steps to close the school due to discriminatory practices dating back to 2016. Advocates argue that the school should not be closed due to concerns about the “collateral damage” to students currently enrolled. But what they are not saying out loud is that they are comfortable with “other” children being “collateral damage,” especially if they are black or have a disability. I am not an apologist for traditional public schools; monopolies can breed mediocrity. And I have visited charters across the country that provide excellent support and services to students with disabilities. However, the underlying premise of charters is that they are public schools operating with public dollars and must be open to all students. Franklin Towne is acting like a private school, picking and choosing students. As the African American Charter School Coalition noted, “any school taking that choice from minority and disabled students is unconscionable.” Failure to take action against discriminatory practices signals that the board supports discrimination. As community representatives, I urge board members to make the right decision.