Response to the Oct. 26 blog post called “A tale of two schools,” by Dale Mezzacappa.
Why is it that the dedication of the parents, teachers, and students to the education of children is being judged based on parents’ ability to come to a meeting, especially multiple meetings called with questionable notice? Did anyone ask how many parents work multiple jobs, take care of children, elderly parents, or extended family members, live in shelters, have no access to the internet, or even live near the school?
No one asked parents how they felt when teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, trained special ed staff, English language support staff, non teaching assistants, and neighborhood-based aides were cut from schools, raising the class sizes and removing key supports for students. Did anyone ask how students felt about the lack of certified substitutes because the School Reform Commission wanted to outsource this service and refused to cancel the contract when the company had a fill rate far less than when the District ran the program?
Were parents contacted when academic, art, music, and dance courses were pulled out? Did anyone mobilize parents and the community about the physical deterioration of schools? Schools have been systematically stripped of much of what makes a school a cohesive unit and then blamed for lack of progress.
Why haven't SRC members, Dr. Hite, and other administrators actually visited these schools to see what their decisions have wrought? I understand that financial resources have been tight, but you can’t fix what you only know about from written reports and spreadsheets. This is a charade to make the School District of Philadelphia and SRC look like they’re doing the heavy lifting all by their lonesome selves. Rubbish!
The writer is a retired School District counselor (38 years as counselor, three years as teacher) and a member of Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.