Schools in Decline = City In Decline

There is a lot of buzz recently in the local media about how parents really really really want to stay in the city but that the school district is making it harder and harder.  I had written about it many many times before, and then Philadelphia Magazine’s blog got in on the act late last month.  The provocative article from Joe Mathis ran with the tagline:

“If you’re a young, college-educated professional parent—the kind Philadelphia is so proud to welcome—the message is this: Run.”

And that article led to others, including a follow-up in the Philadelphia Magazine blog, where Gene Marks responded that fixing the city’s schools would fix the city.

Everyone … everyone … wants what’s best for their kids. They want to send their kids to the best schools possible. They want their kids to do better than them, to go on to college, to be educated. Educated people succeed more in life than non-educated people.If Philadelphia were to have a world-class school system, what would happen? People would move into the city because they’d want their kids to go to those schools. Big companies would be drawn into town because their employees could live in a place where they could send their kids to a great school system. Small businesses, like restaurants, dry cleaners and clothing shops would pop up all around to serve this growing population. Real estate prices would go up. Construction would increase. Balloons and confetti would rain down from the sky! And tax revenues would increase too. So the city could then pay for its infrastructure and its “business growth” initiatives, whatever they may be. No need for the Economy League to be doing all that.  It’s the schools, stupid.

It’s a compelling argument, and one that. as a parent and life-long Philadelphian, I hope is taken to heart by our city’s and school’s leaders.

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