Posts Tagged ‘philadelphia’

I am personally tired of all the negative talk that comes from the disparities of society. I live in the city of Philadelphia and our public school system isn’ t the greatest. People, I see, often look at our public schools in disgust and hatred. We do this because it is much easier “to point the finger than to lend a helping hand.”

The public school system has been deteriorating for many years now and it’s well known to be this way. Schools are in old and dilapidated conditions, books are outdated if not torn apart, and faculty aren’t enthusiastic if they have not already conformed to the behavior and attitudes of students. We place the blame on the government and those representing the school systems for the unsatisfactory education being provided, saying the schools would benefit if they had more money. Yes, I do think that is part of the problem, but just like money is to many other problems, it can only provide a temporary relief from the bigger problems that lie underneath. It’s like putting a bandage on a burn.  Our problem with the public school system will take big steps to recovering and prospering as a good source of institutionalized education when we learn to hold ourselves accountable for the problems in the first place.

Nearly 1 out of every 2 students who attend public school in Philadelphia do not graduate high school. When this is often heard, we downplay those who don’t fit the status quo. We automatically place dropouts into a caste of society because failure carries such a negative burden. Dropping out is throwing in the towel, but people don’t realize the fight that came before and that’s where we are wanted the most, in the corner of the student in the ring.  These kids that drop out when they inertly see they cannot achieve what we would define as success and reject the institutionalized means of achieving those goals. We see these people as delinquents and deviants and cast them aside. They often then turn to gang violence to seek self respect adopting a “street code” or drop out of society completely by becoming alcoholics or substance abusers. This is not to say everyone turns out this way, there are some who gain success and/or finish their education, but I feel there are a couple steps we can take to help revitalize our institutions and students alike.

First, start supporting our kids in school. With our full support behind them, they have more confidence in their work and more of a moral responsibility to succeed. Far too many times have I seen parents that don’t know what subjects their children take in school but get upset at their bad grades. Get more involved in their school work and teach them the personality and character traits beneficial to success. If you don’t know them yourself, get more involved in your community and in the schools themselves. Small steps like reading your neighborhood paper, volunteering in neighborhood projects such as street cleaning, and attending PTA meetings not only improve you, your neighborhood, and your immediate society, it instills character in your child. Remember that they do look up to you even when they detest you.

Second, show them the possibilities of success. Many inner city kids often don’t know the different avenues of success. This can be due to the fact that there aren’t many options in the inner city and the avenues that aren’t shown aren’t known to the community.

Third, get involved in your child’s imagination and likes. If your child loves music, maybe they would like playing an instrument. If they like to rap, maybe they will like exploring slam poetry. Exploring the imaginative part of your child’s mind from any age helps them define who they are and gives them the desire to explore and educate themselves more. At one point or another, all of our children dream.

The city has a great plan in effect to drop the graduating rate of our students. They are holding school officials more accountable and have counsilors participate more with the community of the children. More arts and sport programs will be introduced and even work with unions and health facilities to better project oppurtunity, not alternatives, to the students. They are also trying to revitalize the enthusiasm of the teachers and bring the vets and new teachers closer together. I hope they live up to the expectations they have publicly set but we have to do our part also. Recogninzing that we have much to do with problem is the first part to solving the problem. I believe in the city of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia public school system, and us Philadelphians to do our part in helping fix this problem.