By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The six candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Philadelphia mayor took part in a forum this morning hosted by the Business Association of West Parkside.
One of the questions posed to each candidate: How do you feel about the ongoing funding struggle between charter schools and public schools?
Milton Street (center of photo) says it’s inherently unfair that charter schools can pick and choose students.
“What’s happening to the rest of them? They’re left there with an inferior education,” he said.
Doug Oliver (second from right) says the argument shouldn’t be framed as charter schools versus public schools. “The discussion should be around high-performing schools versus those that don’t perform,” he said.
Anthony Williams (far right) added that the conversation needs to be about funding: “It’s not about the type of school, it’s the outcome of that school.”
And Lynne Abraham (not shown) said schools of both types are failing students.
“Therefore we have to take a close look at what are the measurements of success and failure,” she said.
Nelson Diaz (far left) thinks the school funding formulas need to change.
“You get less than $11,000 for a kid in the school system in Philadelphia, and you get $23,000 for a kid in Lower Merion,” Diaz said.
And Jim Kenney (second from left) noted that charter schools can undermine the concept of universal education.
“The other issue for me is not ever putting a charter school into a neighborhood with a high-performing public school, because all they do is cherry-pick the kids and no one really gets any benefit from it,” he said.