This is a guest blog, and the ideas expressed are solely the opinions of the author. The Notebook invites guest blog posts on current topics in Philadelphia education from its readers. Send submissions to email@example.com.
by Isabelle Sun
Something is missing in the debate over education reform. The growing chorus of well-intentioned calls to close the achievement gap leaves out one critical issue: poverty.
Gov. Tom Corbett has been slashing funds for higher education. He and other anti-government types are ignoring a growing understanding in the real world: Making college more accessible and affordable is critical not only to individual success but to the nation's future.
In a few weeks, thousands of Philadelphia public high school students will graduate. They will march down aisles to the familiar and always stirring "Pomp and Circumstance." It will be an exciting day for these students, one that will fill them with a sense of accomplishment and optimism about the future.
But based on the postsecondary enrollment data that the Notebook highlights throughout this issue, that future will include a college education for only a few of those students.
The U.S. Department of Education released a report showing that districts across the country, including Philadelphia, do not equitably allocate their state and local dollars to the highest-poverty schools.
Supporters and opponents of a state-supported voucher system in Pennsylvania agree on one thing: the fight over the issue in the new legislative session is likely to be quicker and more focused than it was in the last session, when no bill reached Gov. Tom Corbett's desk.
Rep. Paul Clymer (R., Bucks), chairman of the House Education Committee, said that by the start of October, he expected his committee to have a bill different from Senate Bill 1, which failed to gain sufficient support last session.
Philadelphia Futures and the White-Williams Scholars, two organizations that have long helped low-income students complete high school and go to college, are merging in March as a way to expand and deepen their services.
The combined organization, which has yet to be named, will be in a better position to help students succeed in college once they get there, said Joan Mazzotti, president of Philadelphia Futures. She will also lead the new group.
"We recognize that financial support alone doesn't guarantee college success," Mazzotti said.
I'm supposing none of y'all know what the title to this post means. I'll put it this way: that's proper Chicano English, a southwestern US of A dialect of Spanglish, for "aw yeah, crazy dudes!"
What worries me is that still, today, there are people who think that English is the only language that should be spoken in this land. But I take relief when amigos gabachos stand in defense of the many tongues spelling out life in the today's United States. So, gracias to attorney and blogger Len Rieser for his post in response to a Christopher Paslay's op-ed piece that appeared in The Inquirer earlier this week.