KIPP Kindergartners Start First Day

KIPP Kindergartners Start First Day

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PHILADELPHIA -

At least some kids for sure are starting public school on time in Philadelphia. KIPP charter kindergartners started their first day in North Philly.

Little five year olds at KIPP will soon learn that one plus one equals two. Most other Philly public school kids will learn nothing but subtraction, equaling one big mess and embarrassment for the Philadelphia public school district.

"How can you continue to educate the children when you're closing the schools. You're not funding them properly. You're cutting jobs," says Henry Hawkins, father of a KIPP student.

"I know they're talking about a budget issue. Only thing I would say, as a parent, let me see that budget. You know what I mean? because you can't keep asking for all this money and closing schools down. Why you need more money?" says Sharee Montgomery, another parent.

"Do you have confidence in the way Philadelphia's public schools are being run these days?" I ask.

"The last couple of years, no," says Darryl Thompson, a grandparent.

Even though it was announced today that Philadelphia schools would open on time, that was not a certainty even this morning. 

"How bad is it to be a mother not knowing whether your kids will be in a school or a month or not," I ask.

"It's hard. I don't know what I'm going to do with them if they don't go on the ninth. I have plans for them to start when the school district said they were supposed to start. If they push that back, I don't know what they're going to do and I don't know what I'm going to do," says Zakia Sykes, a mother.

"Sounds like you have zero confidence in the administration of these schools," I observe.

"Zero. Zero," Sharee replies.

Lots of charter schools in Philly have August starts. The school district says that starting in the summer is a growing trend in public education to stop what they call learning loss, nicknamed the "September Slide." And a school yard slide at KIPP elementary is a good physical metaphor for Philadelphia's public schools, it's a downward spiral.

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