The School District of Philadelphia plans to review 40 applications for new charter schools, at least ten of which have an explicit focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, entrepreneurship or both. It’s a stat that shows an increasing interest in building a STEM pipeline.
This year was the first in seven years that the District accepted applications for new charters, as per a condition of the state law that allowed a $2-per-pack cigarette tax in Philadelphia. After the District reviews each application, each proposed school will get a public hearing and then will go to public vote by the School Reform Commission, which oversees the District.
One of those proposed STEM-focused schools is TECH Freire, a tech and entrepreneurship school run by Freire Charter School.
- Four schools run by String Theory Schools, which runs two schools now (one of which houses startups like gaming company PHL Collective and eschews textbooks for iPads and iTunes U).
- Two from Northeast Philly-based MaST (Math and Science Technology) Community Charter School. MaST has a waiting list of more than 5,000 children, MaST CEO John Swoyer told us. (Read more about MaST’s plans in the Daily News.)
Another school proposing a “Business Entrepreneur Academy,” West Philadelphia Achievement, is “embroiled in a legal dispute with the district over enrollment caps,” according to the Daily News.
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