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Raising the Bar

New Philadelphia Bar Chancellor William Fedullo wants lawyers to engage with public schools

I guess Chancellors of the Philadelphia Bar, like U.S. Presidents, need a platform of some sort.

At a Bar luncheon Tuesday at the Bellevue, Chancellor-Elect William Fedullo (he will assume office Jan. 1 as the 87th Chancellor of the 212-year-old Bar, the nation's oldest) outlined several projects he wants to push.

The one I am most interested was the Philadelphia school system.

Saying that most of the intelligent men and women present were beneficiaries of public education, "We have reached out to the School District of Philadelphia" to help "as they navigate their way through a difficult and critical period."

We all had a good education, but "is this same education and same opportunity available to our children now?" he asked.

The answer: Yes – to their children, because lawyers have the money to escape bad schools. But Fedullo wasn't being narrow, he meant all of us.

"It breaks my heart when I see articles telling us that the School District needs paper and tissues and No. 2 pencils, No. 2 pencils. We have to do more and do better."

He's appointed a task force to find "more ways to help public education" and to let school children know they are loved.

He didn't have specifics, but I'd like to suggest one.

I don't know how many law firms there are in Philly, other than a lot. I do know there are 13,000 members of the Bar.

Would it be possible for each of the larger law firms in the city to "adopt" a school, provide funds or material or tutoring or mentoring?

He mentioned a Washington, D.C. program that has law firms partnering with schools. I hope that idea gets a good, close look.

Without a quality education, he said, "the promise of opportunity and growth is a broken promise."

A bad education is like a segregated education: Bad for the students and bad for America.