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  1. #1
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Default Penn Alexander admissions to be by lottery

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    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/s...istration.html

    The whole thing is silly, but this in particular bothered me:

    "As is the case currently, siblings of current Penn Alexander students will not be given any special treatment, she said." Logistically it makes sense for siblings to attend the same school. Duh.

    It seems to me that there should be a way to expand the student body to fit the demand from within the catchment, or to set up a satellite location for the overflow. Simply setting up a lottery or having a queue don't seem to be intelligent solutions - it shouldn't be earth-shattering that this school is oversubscribed; the handwriting has been on the wall for quite a long time. The fact that zero planning or thought has been effected to prepare for this day to me is telling about heads being in the sand. What unnecessary chaos.
    Last edited by billy ross; 01-18-2013 at 08:52 PM.

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    OldMama is offline Senior Member
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    This drives me nuts. Charters can use sibling preference to fill their classes but publics cannot. I worked at a high demand elementary school that was able to take some out of catchment kids. My friends' son was admitted for kindergarten while two years later his sister was not (while other transfers in were honored). We also had a couple of college profs apply for their two kids. One got in, the other didn't. Again other requests for that same grade were honored. Those kids ended up in private school. Good job PSD.

    BTW, my friends' daughter was admitted in the end. The placement office called the principal to beg her to take a difficult child back. He was an out of catchment kid in the school, a hard kid to deal with, whose family moved away. When they came back, they were still out of catchment and the parents wanted him back in the same school. The principal struck a deal that if she took him back, they would admit Emmy. It worked!

  3. #3
    annie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    It seems to me that there should be a way to expand the student body to fit the demand from within the catchment, or to set up a satellite location for the overflow. Simply setting up a lottery or having a queue don't seem to be intelligent solutions - it shouldn't be earth-shattering that this school is oversubscribed; the handwriting has been on the wall for quite a long time. The fact that zero planning or thought has been effected to prepare for this day to me is telling about heads being in the sand. What unnecessary chaos.
    But who exactly will pay for the expansion or satellite? Is Penn willing to pony up the $1,330 per additional student? And the rumor is that the school's administrator resisted the lottery and today the district HQ finally forced it.

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    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    This whole thing is b.s.. Two friends were in line waiting because this is their only option. They both already have kids in the school, and they absolutely can not have kids in different schools because they're single working parents and would not be able to do it. If the one doesn't get her kid in, her only other option is spending over $30,000/yr for private school.

  5. #5
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by annie View Post
    But who exactly will pay for the expansion or satellite? Is Penn willing to pony up the $1,330 per additional student? And the rumor is that the school's administrator resisted the lottery and today the district HQ finally forced it.
    penn spends all kinds of money on policing, busing, grants, etc...none of it is as effective as the money and brand they lend to that school.
    "It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past"
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucidinnature View Post
    This whole thing is b.s.. Two friends were in line waiting because this is their only option. They both already have kids in the school, and they absolutely can not have kids in different schools because they're single working parents and would not be able to do it. If the one doesn't get her kid in, her only other option is spending over $30,000/yr for private school.
    Who do they use for aftercare? I know a PAS/Lea parent who has his kid at Lea walked over to PIC. Since PIC doesn't (yet) have official pick up from Lea, they share a "walker" with another Lea family whose kid goes to St. Mary's afterschool. Just trying to be helpful - I realize morning drop off at two separate schools, even ones within 5 blocks of each other, can be a whole other issue!

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    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    It's mostly about the mornings, and then eventual after school activities... she owns a business in fishtown where she has to be in the morning...so it's tight getting the kids to where they have to go in the morning by herself. I know the quality of schooling is also a big deal to her.
    Quote Originally Posted by annie View Post
    Who do they use for aftercare? I know a PAS/Lea parent who has his kid at Lea walked over to PIC. Since PIC doesn't (yet) have official pick up from Lea, they share a "walker" with another Lea family whose kid goes to St. Mary's afterschool. Just trying to be helpful - I realize morning drop off at two separate schools, even ones within 5 blocks of each other, can be a whole other issue!

  8. #8
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    This is the pinnacle reason why a single monolithic school district absolutely sucks balls. Affluent parents cram into catchments to get an "in" to this school, shoot up real estate values (Penn Alexander's catchment costs $100,000 more to live in just because Penn Alexander is there) and overheated gentrification creates a price bubble of unaffordability surrounding the schools, basically importing the Main Line into a little hotspot like this. If you're lucky, you win. And essentially the school itself now dominates the whole meaning of the neighborhood because real-estate prices have conflated with parents' opinion of the school.

    Outside Penn Alexander going west it's still crap. If the SDP was eliminated and neighborhood school districts set up, the service disparity would be radically altered (for Fishtown it would be a big leg up for us) plus one corrupt incompetent administration can't damage the entire city system. If Mantua parents want to put in a school administration that causes parents to flee--then Mantua neighbors are responsible for the damage, not Fishtowners. The SDP has always been too large since its inception and it's never been able to effectively manage itself--ever.

    Reduce the size of the problem and the problem gets easier. Tax funding can still be appropriated between school districts, but school districts should be an independent body from CIty government that answers solely to the state and have elected school boards where passioned neighbors are in charge of overseeing the administration of the schools (we have the former but not the later). If you give lots of different groups similar budgets for their districts based on real estate haul, I can guarantee you that the outcomes will be more positive than negative as more people in the mix will come up with more creative ways to run their neighborhood public schools and also deal with the outlier kids who are scattered about in the neighborhoods.

    This weird quasi-situation with public vs. charter is probably an experiment in futility except the charter component does give a bit more discretion for charters to establish their own administration methodologies and try/fail, but the funding remains at crisis levels. I guess we'll continue doing this experiment until the money runs out and it's scrapped and the Final Solution comes (elimination of the School District of Philadelphia).

    There is a city that has close to 1.5MM people with plenty of families and good public schools and it's San Antonio. It uses the ISD model and Texas uses the Robin Hood Act to pull money out of rich school districts and send it over to barrio school districts so they don't drop drastically in funding. The State of Texas controls the finances of all public schools in the state (the accounting system for public schools is installed at each school... it used to be AS/400-based but I'm sure it's something else by now). Local participation in governing each district is quite high--school board elections are contentious; as they should be. And in metro cities it's easy to bounce from one district to another, it's not like here where you have to make that big decision to pay for private school or move out of the city. If your school district sucks you can probably move cross-town in a comparable house to avoid the crappier district.

    It also slows down real-estate bubbles because it's more difficult to artificially create exclusivity (no lotteries or enrollment blocks---the schools are appropriately sized for their local districts and catchments). If PA would cooperate, school district catchments wouldn't be constricted to the county or township borders either. Somerston and Southhampton could be put into a single district. Overbrook could fold into Lower Merion, etc. You can create income diversity and dilute the hegemony.

    It just sucks that we have these little islands of school echelons surrounded by oceans of mediocrity, and plenty of "thug factory" schools lying around. Charter schools are just an experiment that I think 20 years from now people will be going "well, that was a big waste of time."

  9. #9
    annie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucidinnature View Post
    It's mostly about the mornings, and then eventual after school activities... she owns a business in fishtown where she has to be in the morning...so it's tight getting the kids to where they have to go in the morning by herself. I know the quality of schooling is also a big deal to her.
    I can't help with the mornings part (anyone else have ideas? The situation is not unusual in the neighborhood someone must be able to figure it out) but the parents I mentioned have been very happy with the quality of schooling their children have received at Lea.

  10. #10
    OldMama is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucidinnature View Post
    This whole thing is b.s.. Two friends were in line waiting because this is their only option. They both already have kids in the school, and they absolutely can not have kids in different schools because they're single working parents and would not be able to do it. If the one doesn't get her kid in, her only other option is spending over $30,000/yr for private school.

    My point exactly. Why can't publics do sibling preference while charters can?

  11. #11
    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    Even if they switch to a lottery-fine. But they can't do it at the zero hour as a reactionary measure to a line by the door. The sunshine act requires them to hold hearings and have open debate prior to making a decision. A school board can't vote on something in private without warning.
    Last edited by lucidinnature; 01-19-2013 at 01:55 AM.

  12. #12
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    Dolemite is offline Senior Member
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    And what's with the not finding out until May? That's ridiculous.

  13. #13
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    Gladys is offline Senior Member
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    I'm confused about how the system works. What's a cachement?
    "If you're going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh; otherwise they'll kill you."
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  14. #14
    JakeL is offline Senior Member
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    Oh man, I would be so angry if I was a parent who shelled out an extra $100k for my kids to go to Penn Alexander only to find out that they couldn't get in.

  15. #15
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeL View Post
    Oh man, I would be so angry if I was a parent who shelled out an extra $100k for my kids to go to Penn Alexander only to find out that they couldn't get in.
    Caveat emptor. Penn is being really, really stupid here. For small potatoes money they could reinforce their neighborhood 'community' here. Instead they're sowing uncertainty. People who live in the catchment need to be guaranteed admission to what they paid for and what they were promised. This can be accomplished with trailers or by 'adopting' a different school.

  16. #16
    Eastcoast is offline Senior Member
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    To quote myself!

    "In other news:

    Home prices dropped 10% today in the Penn Alexander catchment and home prices in the Meredith catchment simultaneously rose by 10%."

  17. #17
    phillycat is offline Senior Member
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    Isn't this just about (non-mandatory) kindergarten? They still have to take all the kids in the catchement for the regular grades.

    I have a friend who moved to a good suburban school district so that they could start their son in kindergarten after a year. They both work so they paid for preschool for a year - then found out he was a week or two too young to start kindergarten before the deadline for the following year - which means they have to pay for another year of preschool. It sucks, but it's not the end of the world and it doesn't just happen in the city.

  18. #18
    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    No. This determines your school, period.
    Quote Originally Posted by phillycat View Post
    Isn't this just about (non-mandatory) kindergarten? They still have to take all the kids in the catchement for the regular grades.

    I have a friend who moved to a good suburban school district so that they could start their son in kindergarten after a year. They both work so they paid for preschool for a year - then found out he was a week or two too young to start kindergarten before the deadline for the following year - which means they have to pay for another year of preschool. It sucks, but it's not the end of the world and it doesn't just happen in the city.

  19. #19
    Naveen is offline Senior Member
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    So if Penn Alexander is a public school with a catchment (not a Masterman-like magnet school), what happens to people who live in the catchment but cannot get their kids into the school?

  20. #20
    annie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    So if Penn Alexander is a public school with a catchment (not a Masterman-like magnet school), what happens to people who live in the catchment but cannot get their kids into the school?
    The Musings of an Urban Christian: Registering My Son for Kindergarten in the Philadelphia Public Schools: A Timeline

    They are assigned to another school, usually the next closest one, through a centralized process. In theory. If the fax from the school actually gets to the HQ. Which it doesn't and apparently no one from the school calls to confirm receipt. And no one notices until a frustrated parent checks in at the HQ in September a week before kindergarten is supposed to start. Then gets his kid in to a neighboring school just by walking in and filling an application himself while the HQ is still scrambling.
    Last edited by annie; 01-22-2013 at 09:15 PM.

 

 

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