Dear Mr. Spencer,
I know that Delco is Republican but aren't newspapers suppose to remain neutral? Your editorial on CUSD is full of holes. Did you forget that your own newspaper along with the Philadelphia Inquirer went to court to get Mr. Vahan Gureghian to open his books. Have you ever visited CCS? Not much different from CUSD except maybe a beautiful campus! If Mr. Vahan Gureghian is educating the students in Chester better than the public school, why are they being investigated for cheating on PSSA's? Did you know that Mr.Vahan Gureghian sends all his behavioral problem students back to the district along with many of the special education students? He can take the cream of the crop and still has to cheat on PSSA's? Doesn't that tell you something? Or is Mr. Vahan Gureghian filling your pockets for some good press along with Corbett's and Pilleggi's? (sic) The district needs a new strong superintendent who can begin to make changes and hold the parents and students more accountable. Every city that has a similar population to Chester has had the same problems as CUSD. Putting a man who thinks education is a "for profit" venture, who can't keep teachers because he pays them so poorly is not the answer.
To answer Ms. Murphy's questions.
1. Delco is not Republican. It's county government is Republican. There are many Democrats in the county, especially in the city of Chester.
2. News stories in newspapers are supposed to be factual and unbiased. I am an opinion columnist. My work is supposed to be factual and opinionated. I admit to be biased against waste, failure and fiscal insanity.
3. No, I did not forget that Mr. Vahan Gureghian had to be sued to open his books. Neither did I forget that Chester Community Charter School had to sue the CUSD to get the money to which it is entitled by state law. I just didn't mention either. There is only so much space in a newspaper column.
4. Yes I have visited CCS. I was impressed.
5. Your question "If Mr. Vahan Gureghian is educating the students in Chester better than the public school, why are they being investigated for cheating on PSSA's?" contains a logical fallacy. CCS could be educating students better than the public school and still be investigated for cheating. Lots of public schools are under investigation for cheating on standardized tests. Being investigated and being found guilty are two different things.
6. No I didn't know that Mr. Vahan Guregahian sends "all his behavioral problem students back to the district and many of his special education students." And I don't believe that he does. In any case, charter schools have to follow the same laws as all other public schools when it comes to Special Ed and disabilities. If Mr. Vahan Guregahian doesn't do that, he can easily be brought to account.
7. The accusation that CCS takes the "cream of the crop" and "still has to cheat" is completely unsubstantiated. Parents "choose" to send their kids to CCS. And they are choosing to send them there by the thousands. What does that tell you, Ms. Murphy?
8. While Mr. Vahan Gureghian legally donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to GOP politicians, I have never been offered or taken a dime from him. The very suggestion that I have is both ignorant and silly. Meanwhile, the PSEA donates millions to politicians in Harrisburg to pass laws that directly benefit their members.
I don't know if Louise Murphy is a member of the PSEA but there is a Louise Murphy who is a Special Ed teacher for the Chester Upland School District. If they are, in fact, one and the same person, I hope - for the sake of her students - she is a better school teacher than she is a poison-pen letter writer.
P.S. While I don't consider myself a huge fan of Mr. Gureghian's, I have to admit he is a clever businessman. That anyone can make millions by getting parents to voluntarily choose to send their children to his school over the old public school alternative just shows how bad the old public school system truly is.