School Closure Decisions Signal Emphasis on School Quality
by Helen Cunningham, Board member of the Philadelphia School Partnership
When the School Reform Commission voted to keep open two of the 10 schools recommended for closure — E.M. Stanton and Isaac Sheppard elementary schools — parents, families and teachers rightfully celebrated. At the same time, the SRC made the tough decision to close eight schools.
Behind these decisions is a bigger story that signals a new era for the nearly 200,000 students who attend Philadelphia’s public schools. By keeping open schools that are producing strong academic results for kids and closing the others, the SRC demonstrated its focus on the most important factor for children and families: school quality.
Helen Cunningham is executive director of the Samuel S. Fels Fund, a charitable foundation making grants in the fields of arts, education, and community programs in Philadelphia. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia School Partnership, a nonprofit organization that invests in the creation and expansion of great schools in Philadelphia.