Lots of things swirling through my head this morning. I've been reading "Savage Inequalities" and I'm not sure I've read a book as heart-breaking as this book. I'm half-way finished and I keep telling everyone that Chapter 2 of the book is a must read. It lays out the state of education so clearly. The book was written 20 years ago, when I was in high school and education had not devolved to the level it is today. 20 years ago, a working poor mother actually had options to educate her children and thus ensure they would move from working poor to middle class. Not so much now...
I came across this article about a walk-out for West Philly High School students.
Here I came across this article about a walk-out by West Philly High School students.
About 30 students walked out of West Philadelphia High on Friday, protesting the planned restructuring of their school and they way discipline is handled there now.
Led by West junior D'Atwan Nelson, the group milled around briefly, with a few students shouting "No education, no life!" Inside, some students banged on windows facing Walnut Street, raising their fists to encourage those who walked out.
The action lasted just a few minutes, until school police officers walked outside to disperse the crowd.
Philly students are activist and years ago created their own student union. They have staged several walk-outs, are organizing and turn-out at many events that deal with education and poverty.
My mom and dad went to West Philly High and I pass the school often. The school was built almost a century ago in 1912. It takes up a whole city block. For years there has been a back and forth over what will happen to West Philly High. Different proposals, different groups, what's happened. Nothing much.
The most exciting news out of West Philly High is the Hybrid X Team.
This team of students have travelled around the world participating in a contest with major competitiors to build an efficient car. It certainly is a bright spot where none exists from this school. It almost would make me consider sending my son to this school to participate in this program, but one good program is not nearly enough to stifle the rest of his academic well-being.
The school is on its third principal this year. February. From all accounts it is a relatively mild school when compared to some other schools but it certainly is not a school on the top of anyone's list except maybe those with no choice. The school is is majority African American...I should say hypermajority African American. It is located less than two miles from the University of Pennsylvania. I'm wondering if Penn ever recruits students from this school since most of their professors live in the surrounding neighborhoods...I wonder...
2009 Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Statistics:
Students tested - Math : 77
Students tested - Verbal : 77
Students tested - Writing : 77
Average Math Score: 348.0
State average from 641 schools: 481.6
Average Verbal Score: 361.0
State average from 641 schools: 473.0
Average Writing Score: 348.0
State average from 641 schools: 460.4
Well if they aren't recruiting, maybe they have some type of joint partnership with the school. Maybe...
I was already incensed about the state of our educational system, but as I read "Savage Inequalities" and read about these students attempting to shape their destiny and read that these students are very capable when given the right tools...in America...this persists because we allow it to persist.
If you have not read "Savage Inequalities" and you care about our country (it really is key to increase productivity and innovation), I would recommend that you do.
I will leave with this quote from the book...
Almost anyone who visits in the schools of East St. Louis, even for a short time, comes away profoundly shaken. These are innocent children, after all. They have done nothing wrong. They have committed no crime. They are too young to have offended us in any way at all. One searches for some way to understand why a society as rich and, frequently, as generous as ours would leave these children in their penury and squalor for so long - and with so little public indignation. Is this just a strange mistake of history? Is it ununsual? Is it an American anomaly? Even if the destitution and the racial segregation and the toxic dangers of the air and soil cannot be immediately addressed, why is it that we can't at least pour vast amounts of money, ingenuity and talent into public education for these children?
Why not, at least, give children in this city something so spectacular, so wonderful and special in their public schools that hundreds of them, maybe thousands, might be able somehow to soar up above the hoplessness, the clouds of smoke and sense of degradation all around them?