Monday, January 31, 2011

Will they keep their Promises?

Last week, quite a few Philadelphia public schools have been added to the Promise Academy and Renaissance list for next year.

What does this mean for these schools? See description here:

I work at two of these high schools, Simon Gratz and Germantown. At both schools teachers and students alike are all in a frenzy trying to figure out what this means for them next year. Today, I saw teachers working on resumes and checking out websites for other districts. There was also a senior today who walked around from class to class, and with permission of the teachers, asked the students in the classrooms to sign a (relatively polished looking) petition to keep Gratz a public high school.   I don't even think that the students fully understand how their school may change, but they all signed the petition in the classroom that I was in.

I really do not know what will work to reform this district, especially if we are only focusing on curriculum and rules, school hours and teacher certification, and ignoring the larger systemic problems. I only hope that they use all this new federal money on something that can really make a difference.  (I know that I certainly didn't need a color printed brochure at the district PD I attended today, when at most schools, paper is treated like gold.)

 Want some color commentary? This is an actual conversation between a few male students regarding the issue:

Student 1-They gettin’ ready to kick all y’all out. (Saying this to a teacher)
Student 2-Yeah, They shuttin’ this school down
Student 3- They ain’t shutting it down, it’s gonna be a charter
Student 2-I’m goin' somewhere else…Del Val something
Student 3-You ain’t goin' nowhere…we getting’ booked.
Student 1-I’m getting’ my GED- Get every dolla’
Student 2-Yeah,I gotta do something, I’m not tryin' to be 23 graduating and everything

Sigh. After hearing conversations like that, I sure hope the people at 440 N. Broad can keep some promises.