The new developments...
So after getting my feathers in a bunch, it seems that we are getting a new school after all. However, it looks as though we may need to relocate first. This means we have to empty the entire school of everything we need and move to another building, only to pack it up a couple of years later to move into the new school. Our kids will be bussed to the new school which will be in a different neighborhood.
I guess I'm happy about it because at least something may be done about the building. However, I'm not looking forward to packing up the whole lab and relocating it. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of feet of cable throughout the room that will probably go to waste. The lab will probably need to be re-wired in the new building. I'm wondering whether this has been thought through by the people who make the final decisions or whether it will be another typical School District after thought.
You know something politically-minded was coming....
All this talk of building has had me thinking about the new stimulus package. There have been numerous parallels made with The New Deal and the government's new package. I have some worries about what I hear. I wish the bill had more language about building infrastructure in cities--our own South Street bridge has been crumbling for years. I also wish that there were more language about building up the public transportation system. If we don't invest in this kind of infrastructure, how will we become a more environmentally-friendly, forward-thinking society? Upgrading highways will only encourage more cars. Our train system is pathetic for such a large country. So, back to schools: HELLO, PUT SOME MONEY TOWARD MODERNIZING OUR SCHOOLS!!! I don't know what the language is in regard to this topic, but I will be keeping my eyes and ears open. If Philadelphia could use federal money to fix some of its crumbling schools, we wouldn't have to dig into our already threadbare pockets.
Hey, my school is an Empowerment School--whoopee!
I just had to comment on how ridiculous these fuzzy and warm names are for different categories of schools. CEO Ackerman has labeled the best performing schools Vanguard Schools and schools who are borderline failing/improving Empowerment Schools. To me, it's like a teacher naming the different small reading groups The Hummingbirds, The Cardinals, etc... so as not to make anyone 'feel bad.' Again, the District is also reverting to private management for those schools which are consistently failing. What a brilliant idea. Especially since, under Paul Vallas and the School Reform Commission, the Edison Company did such a fantastic job managing our neighborhood schools!
The one thing I liked to hear is that those Vanguard Schools will be given more freedom in how they run their schools. What's a shame is that most of these failing schools also need to be given freedom to make local decisions based on the community in which they are located and the students that they serve. Really, all schools should be given this freedom. I understand that there are "rotten apples" that make this impossible because they continually show poor leadership and vision. Then provide supports such as the ones already in place to provide oversight. The recent turn of economic events is the perfect evidence for the necessity of oversight in general. I will try to stay positive through all of this change. If you learn anything working in the School District of Philadelphia, you learn how to be adaptable, malleable and to take everything with a HUGE grain of salt.
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Philly Teacher by Mary Beth Hertz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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