Here’s a statistic of what public education in Philadelphia is doing to its students.
Today, they saw the raw data, and were collectively horrified. One in 10 white students is classified as mentally gifted; just 3 in 100 black students are. Black and Latino students make up 79 percent of the district’s 165,000 students, but make up just 54 percent of students in the district’s prestigious magnet schools. Those groups make up 90 percent of all children labeled “emotionally disturbed,” and most of the students at the district’s lowest-performing schools.
Am waiting for Barack Obama to come out against school choice and vouchers. What do you think the parents of those kids would choose? More money into failing schools, or a choice to which school they can send their child? The schools system wants to pour good money after bad to train their teachers instead of replacing them. Teachers are supposed to know how to teach before they get a classroom. These schools can’t even give their students schedules on their first day. Sounds a lot like bureaucratic Washington doesn’t it?
Students did not have rosters on the first day of school, a glitch that will take weeks to sort out. Rev. Bryant Robinson, a member of the GermantownClergy Initiative, was there on the first day. “It was dysfunctional. It was chaos,” Robinson said. Students were roaming the halls, unsure where to go, he said.
And, when schools excel, instead of concentrating on how to bring students up to the set standard, they want to lower the standards for racial and ethnic reasons instead of maintaining academic excellence.
The superintendent also took aim at some of the district’s special admittance schools. She said she can’t understand why the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, which opened last week in Northeast Philadelphia, requires students not only to audition but also score in the 85th percentile on state exams. “We know the numbers of African American and Latino students who are scoring at that level,” Ackerman said. “We are keeping these people out.”
Is it any wonder that the education system there is in shambles when their focus is more on race than academics?
This is a political season. Which of the two presidential candidates has the right answer to fix our educational system?