This was a great victory for the parents, staff and Nicetown community members who value their neighborhood school and don’t want to see it sold off to a charter company. It was also a victory for the movement against school privatization and austerity in our city. Parents voted for Steel by a better than two to one margin for Steel in spite of a relentless campaign by Mastery than included paid staff canvassing the neighborhood for weeks, the efforts of the Charter School office to prejudice the outcome, and the undeniable reality that Mastery schools are at this point in time better resourced than Philadelphia public schools.
The parents voted the way they did because they value the teachers and administration that have decades of experience and demonstrated commitment to Steel families. It also reflects the continued sentiment of working class families in favor of neighborhood public schools. Most people, if given a choice, favor investing resources in these schools and furthering democratic control of them rather than turning them over to private companies. We should be encouraged by this as one of a number of developments that indicate the tide is turning against this version of reform.