City Hall protest calls on Philly to provide equitable treatment for charter schools

The students delivered petitions to both the mayor and City Council calling for fair reviews of charter schools, especially in Black and brown neighborhoods.

Rallyers gather at City Hall.

Protesters called for charter school fairness at a rally at City Hall on April 20, 2023. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY News)

Several hundred students and teachers, mostly from Black and brown families, gathered outside City Hall Thursday morning alongside a five-foot-tall stack of petitions. They came together to call on city and school district leaders to support charter schools in Philadelphia.

Markida Ross is a parent of several current and former charter school students. She said the schools are important to the survival of the city.

“I don’t want anyone or anything to threaten the future of our charter schools that provide safe and joyful and awesome educational opportunities for our children,” Ross said.

People gather around outside of City Hall, holding signs in support of charter schools.
Charter school supporter Markida Ross speaks at a rally outside of City Hall on April 20, 2023. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Elijah Frazier is a student at Freire Charter in Center City.  He said his education at the college prep school helped him make it into college, with assistance preparing the financial aid paperwork among other things.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“Charter schools are special, and I feel if they were closed down or cut back due to funding it would be a disservice to the people of Philadelphia,” he said.

Frazier spoke about how much he enjoyed his educational experience and the support he’s received during his journey.

He said his school “creates a safe learning environment for all of us. They also have a mediation program that gets students involved in helping keep us calm and preventing violence. The whole school is like a family. Teachers support you inside and outside the classroom.”

Parent Shereda Cromwell told the group she was afraid for the future of charter schools when a new administration comes in next year.

“Redlining started 90 years ago but it’s happening again today to Black and brown communities in Philadelphia,” Cromwell said. “It’s called educational redlining when the school board closes down schools in mostly Black and brown communities. That is educational redlining people.”

The petition calls on the mayor and school board not to restrict charter school enrollment, and be fair and equitable when it comes to reviewing charter schools.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal