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.
Recyclebank is a rewards programs that has partnered with the city of Philadelphia to promote recycling. They accomplish this by rewarding participants with points for recycling, which are redeemable for goods and services like gift cards or coupons. Last year, Recyclebank introduced its Green Schools Program, allowing schools to propose projects and recyclebank members to donate their points to local schools for those projects. From the Recyclebank website…
The Recyclebank Green Schools Program is designed to promote green education and encourage innovative thinking. Schools can raise funds for their projects by getting point donations, which will be converted into dollars and awarded to fund the project. Green education is so important, and that’s why Recyclebank will match every $1 earned.
The City Paper published an article last week entitled Urban Studies. The article highlights the risk that parents take in choosing to go the a Philadelphia public school in the current climate. Specifically, budget cuts and declining enrollment are forcing the district to close schools and change catchment boundaries. The result–parents that gamble by buying a house in a desirable catchment or choose to invest in their catchment school and forgo the lottery or private school application process could end up out of luck–their intended destination becomes overburdened with students from other schools being diverted in or worse, the school is simply taken away.
Don’t think that the problem of having a school yanked out from under you is limited to public schools either. Private schools are not immune. Faced with declining enrollments, last week the Archdocese of Philadelphia announced that it was closing 44 elementary schools in the region (Inquirer story).
If you hadn’t noticed before last week’s news cycle that the education landscape in this city is in the midst of a sea change, how do you like the wake up call?
On her blog Raising Philadelphia, Inquirer reporter Miriam Hill wrote quite an amusing piece on her struggle deciding between public and private. Entitled Don’t Make Me Love You, Private School, it is a fake open letter to an unnamed private school. I believe that it will resonate with many of you going through this process. It starts with,
Dear Unnamed Private School,
Please stop making me love you. Really, I’m kind of committed to pubic school. It’s free, and I’m really hoping to say “I Do” to public when my son gets to first grade, so private, could you, like, stop looking so hot?
She does make an interesting point about the ‘marketing’ efforts of private (high) versus public (nonexistent). A parent interested in public school often has to make a concerted effort to get to know their local public school, where the private schools will inundate you with emails, brochures, open houses, and all sorts of other marketing fluff.