The December edition of The Philadelphia Public School Notebook features a cover story titled, “A Distorted Reality.” It illustrates how a high school in Southwest Philadelphia saw their PSSA test scores decline from 70% proficiency in 2010 to 24% in 2011. The reason? Cheating had been taking place in the building, and shockingly we’ve now found out this behavior is citywide in both district and charter schools. The Notebook reported, “56 city schools (including 3 charters) were under investigation for possible cheating. 19 of those saw their proficiency rates drop by over 30 points.”
Jubilee is responding to this deeply troubling news. Now, more than ever, our Jubilee schools are needed for low-income urban students with hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Youth across Philadelphia are being cheated, literally.
In contrast, Jubilee’s 24 schools have an average proficiency rate of 75% on standardized tests, a number not tainted by dishonesty. Over 90% of our high school graduates enter college, and we’re seeing growing numbers of graduates make it through college and start careers.
Moronica Teng, a Logan Hope School graduate, reflected on her experience and her future as she enters her first year of high school. She writes:
“Logan Hope taught me to prepare myself for the future. They didn’t just teach math, but they also taught responsibility and honesty. Inside (Logan Hope) there are kids ready to learn, and teachers ready to prepare us for a future.”
The United Way makes it easy to contribute to Jubilee. If your company has partnered with the United Way and you are trying to decide which organization to allocate the funds, Jubilee has a United Way number.
When distributing your contribution, use the Jubilee number: 48865.
Together, we are helping to lower the high school drop out rate and initiate significant change in communities of need.
Last Sunday afternoon, Alexa Lee, a Radnor high school student, used her God-given musical gift by performing Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Mendelssohn. When I asked Alexa why she wanted to do it, she told me she was alarmed by the statistics in the Philadelphia school district just a few miles away from her excellent public school in Radnor.
I was moved by the performance. Feel free to click here to hear it.
About 130 people joined us, and it is our privilege to report that 20 new student sponsors are now sharing in Jubilee’s mission to open the door to Christian schooling for low-income youth in Philadelphia, Norristown, Chester, and Camden.
At Jubilee we are thankful to Dr. David and Mrs. Tessi Lee for joining their daughter Alexa to host this event. They worked tirelessly behind the scenes making sure the afternoon was a success! We thank God for new sponsorships. We also thank Wendell Holmes and the Philadelphia Mennonite High School choir as they closed out the afternoon with soulful singing. Philadelphia Mennonite High School is one of our 24 Jubilee member schools.
In Center City Philadelphia at 17th and Sansom Streets, opportunity was created for some youth who live in the city’s neediest neighborhoods. Thank God for the opportunity!
At the GOP convention, Condoleezza Rice boldly stated, “We need to give parents greater choice, particularly poor parents whose kids, very often minorities, are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights issue of our day.”
Thankfully, the PA legislators agree and have taken an important step forward through creating The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit. This $50 million bill, signed into law this summer, allows Pennsylvania businesses to direct the state taxes they owe to qualified scholarship organizations. These dollars can only be given to students in PA who attend schools performing in the bottom 15% based on state standards. Over 40,000 K-12 youth are eligible to receive these scholarships.
These failing schools were required to write to the parents of these students, explaining that their public schools were indeed failing. For the past week, we’ve been receiving phone calls and e-mails from parents who now realize that their local neighborhood school is failing them. Here’s what one concerned mom wrote:
“I received a letter in the mail regarding my child’s school being a low achieving school the other day. After being informed of the statistics of my child’s school, I was devastated and felt hopeless in terms of education for my child. I have been looking around and researching opportunities for him, but I simply could not afford it. I have a feeling of desperation when I think of the importance education is to my child and how it was the key factor in my life. I am willing and able to give whatever information and documentation is needed for the application process. This scholarship would give my child the opportunity to receive the education he needs and prepare him for furthering his education and life in the future.”
At Jubilee, we care deeply for families who are in these schools. However, we need the help of the Pennsylvania business community. If you own a business and agree with Secretary of State Rice that “school choice is the civil rights issue of our day,” please e-mail me at email@example.com. You can make a difference.
July 1st is approaching, so Jim and I are calling and e-mailing as many business owners we know to let them know about the amazing opportunity Pennsylvania business owners have to help low-income urban youth. Here you’ll find out how your business can participate in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.
In short, the tax dollars your business owes the state can go directly to a low-income family through a qualified scholarship organization like Children’s Jubilee Fund. These dollars will help low-income families send their child or children to a school of their choice.
Jubilee now has 24 Christian schools in our network with whom we partner. These schools are places where disadvantaged K-12 urban youth in the Philadelphia region are safe, secure, and flourishing!
The deadline for the EITC application is July 1st!
Don’t hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim at email@example.com to find out more. We’ll walk you through the process and make it easy for you to take your business taxes and provide low-income urban families with hope!
Jim and I joined hundreds of students on Wednesday to rally for school choice. I loved seeing Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Charter schools come together for the same reason: providing parents with more choice. Creating opportunities for parents in neighborhoods where their schools are failing (91 in Philly) is critical to the long-term success of this city.
The energy and momentum was evident on Wednesday giving us at Jubilee renewed confidence that change and choice are almost upon us.