The Philadelphia School District’s unequal school funding crisis is taking its toll on students enrolled in traditional public schools. The “doomsday budget” spells doom for students who attend schools with overcrowded class sizes, locked bathrooms, closed libraries and no guidance counselors.
What is happening in Philly will not stay in Philly.
Last night, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch spoke at the Free Library of Philadelphia about her new book, “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools.” Ravitch said:
The state of Pennsylvania is ground zero for the destruction and privatization of education.
Ravitch believes “public school teachers have become public enemy number one.”
While Gov. Tom Corbett and his unelected School Reform Commission want to blame teachers for the school funding crisis, Philadelphians know what’s up. A new poll from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that only 11 percent blame teachers’ unions and other workers.
The poll found that 48 percent of Philadelphians expect families will seek other education options within the city (read: public charter and cyber schools).
Although studies show charter schools perform no better than traditional public schools, the perception is real in its consequences. More and more taxpayer dollars will be diverted to unaccountable charter and cyber schools.
In a conference call, Larry Eichel, director of Pew’s Philadelphia Program, said:
Overall, we found that Philadelphians have a very low opinion of their city’s financially distressed system.
If public schools are not an option, it really makes it hard to stay. It tests the commitment to the city.
The finding that 23 percent of residents expect families will start leaving the city will impact Philadelphia’s ability to attract new businesses or for existing businesses to grow and create jobs.
The Atlantic Cities recently reported that among the top 11 metropolitan areas, Philadelphia is the outlier in the shift of venture capital investment from suburban office parks to urban centers.
If young families flee the City of Brotherly Love, it is not likely venture capitalists will show some love to Philadelphia-based start-ups.