Philadelphia sharply cutting back summer school

Some struggling Philadelphia students will be stranded this summer by the School District’s plan to sharply curtail summer school.  The SRC still must approve the summer school cutback, which would offer summer classes only to seniors who need credits to graduate and some students in federally-funded programs. 
Reverend Mark Kelly Tyler is pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church and has a doctorate in education. “My congregation has adopted Nedinger Elementary School in Queen Village,” said Tyler.  “We are exploring opportunities of raising funds to provide summer school opportunities for children who – if they don’t get summer school – will be held back another grade.”Tyler, the parent of two Philadelphia public school students, said the summer school predicament points to a bigger problem.”The fact that churches have to step in and provide summer school because the district can’t provide summer school and can’t find creative ways to do it – yet we can find $6 million to pay a consultant to tell us what we already know, just points to some of the problems that are systemic,” said Tyler.Gerald Wright is a member of the group Parents United for Public Education.  He said, considering the District’s fiscal crisis, the scaled back summer school.”May be a good decision so long as they can provide summer school for the kids who really need it.  In the past, a couple  summers, the district has actually made the poor decision to have a very very large summer school effort even when it did not have money to pay for it,” said Wright.Wright said he thinks most parents are focused on the larger question: “Will there be even be a public school system in the fall?”

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