As the School District of Philadelphia continues to press on with its plan to eventually close to 40 schools, and re-locate several others…Philadelphia’s public school students remain in a state of impending doom and chaos. New Superintendent William Hite has inherited this mess of a school district that is entrenched in deep financial debt thanks to decades of poor management and spending, and is also trying to reverse the horrible decisions of former superintendents Paul Vallas and Arlene Ackerman. While I don’t fully blame Hite for these schools closing, I do blame the School Reform Commission, who was established a long time to prevent such drastic and terrible measures such as this from occurring. I also blame Governor Corbett for slashing education funding, in what seems like a grand scheme to make sure these urban school districts get destroyed and the charter school companies take over. To a lesser extent, I blame Mayor Nutter for being completely silent during this whole ordeal and not attending any School Reform Commission meetings.
One good positive story to come out of this whole messy and disgraceful affair is the way University City High School students have stepped up to the plate to protest the closing of their school. Under the School District of Philadelphia’s plan, once UCity High School closes, the students will have the option of transferring to Overbrook, Sayre, High School of the Future, and West Philadelphia High. Here’s the problem with that proposal: you got UCity High School at 36th and Filbert, and none of those options make any sense. UCity and West Philly students do not get along at all, so that’s throwing kids into a lion’s den. Overbrook and Sayre are both far away for kids in that neighborhood to travel to every day, and High School of the Future is a difficult school to get into. So, University City High School Students are proposing that the school merge with Robeson High School on 41st and Ludlow. The problem is that Robeson High School is also supposed to close. It’s very unfortunate. A merger with Robeson actually makes sense, and it’s something both schools want. Sending kids to a rival high school, or far away to another school makes absolutely no sense at all.
It’s been really inspiring to see. In addition to protesters screaming at the SRC and Superintendent Hite for this horrible proposal, the University City High School students have taken the high road and are fighting valiantly for their school. It’s truly inspiring to see, and I fully support University City High School in their efforts to save their school and to merge with Robeson High School.
"Pride is what drives a young student to wake up in the morning and take an 8 block walk to school everyday. Pride is what I feel when I think about University City…" -Christian Warwick, Class of 2013
h/t to stephaniesilver. for the information for this post