by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks
In college, and for a brief time in the NFL, it was Chief Inspector Carl Holmes' job to protect the quarterback from being flattened into the gridiron grass.
Since joining the Philadelphia Police Department, the former offensive lineman has helpled tackle street crime, spending most of his two-plus decades on the force in patrol and narcotics.
A new foundation report that tracks state-by-state data has concluded that the high school graduation rates of Black and Latino males continue to lag significantly behind Whites. It calls the problem a result of "willful neglect" and argues that it imperils the country's global competitiveness.
The School Reform Commission voted Thursday evening to adopt a revised code of conduct that gives principals more discretion in handling disciplinary cases and prevents some infractions from being punished by out-of-school suspensions.
After a year of urgency from the District about the need to shed tens of thousands of excess seats, it was surprising that the facilities master plan unveiled in November called for only nine school closings. Some local officials and School Reform Commission members responded that the plan is not aggressive enough. One critique we heard is that it's better to rip off a Band-Aid than slowly peel it off.
About a quarter of students initially referred for expulsion by their schools since August 2009 were not ultimately expelled by the School Reform Commission, according to an analysis of 13 months of data by the Education Law Center (ELC).
And the rate of rejection is going up. Since April, more than one-third of the cases brought to the SRC did not result in expulsion.
Youth United for Change (YUC), a citywide student organization, has conducted a survey of high school students about the impact of the District’s zero tolerance policy.
That policy requires school administrators to immediately suspend, with intent to expel, when there are probable grounds to suspect that a student has committed a violent offense.
Education Not Incarceration-Delaware Valley is holding a series of public gatherings on the “school-to-prison” pipeline, including discussion about school climate and zero-tolerance policies.
A panel discussion at the second gathering in January addressed the origins of zero tolerance and student rights in the disciplinary process.
According to Project U-Turn, students who re-enter high school from juvenile placement have a 90 percent dropout rate, one of the highest of any student population in Philadelphia.
Among students who’ve received the District’s RETI-WRAP (Re-Entry Transition Initiative) services, that rate is closer to the “low 60s,” said Benjamin Wright, regional superintendent for the Alternative Education Region.
It’s the period before lunch in the tiny office of Christina Taveras, student advisor for the 9th grade academy at West Philadelphia High.
A girl enters quietly. “Miss, I need to talk to you. That girl called my house and wants to fight me.”
Taveras goes to work. Over the next 45 minutes, she establishes a truce of sorts by speaking with the two antagonists and getting them to promise to keep talking to each other. It isn’t easy.
This week’s Philadelphia Weekly cover story has a crushing story about violence heaped on Asian students in many Philadelphia public schools.