The Philadelphia School District is in a crisis. Many of the recently implemented reforms have had a good impact on the district, but the time has also come for a new direction toward stable finances, greater curricular options, and teacher and student safety.
If elected I will work with the School Reform Commission to:
Restore school safety by working with parents, teachers and administrators to create individual school safety plans and place Philadelphia police officers in every school;
Improve funding districtwide to compete with suburban school districts by lobbying state, federal and private sources;
Lower the dropout rate by giving students career training options, because students who have a sense of economic viability after graduation are much more likely to stay in school; and
Shrink school and classroom sizes by cutting red tape and facilitating the school district's capital improvement plan.
The Philadelphia School District has become a leader in taking large, comprehensive high schools and dividing them into smaller academies. It also has forged groundbreaking public-private partnerships. These reforms are valuable and should be continued.
On the other hand, the experiment with private managers, such as Edison Schools Inc., has proven too ineffective to justify the cost.
We will never have the school system that our children deserve until we restore safety, improve funding, and provide career training opportunities.