440 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
May 22, 2012
Dear members of the School Reform Commission,
I have written extensively to you regarding the potential impact of budget cuts on the grander scale of the School District of Philadelphia but have yet to tell you of some smaller, anecdotal reasons why the budget cuts will severely inhibit the work I do in my school. One major impact is that teachers are being pressured to compromise our ideals due to lack of resources.
At this moment across the School District students, teachers, and parents are fretting over final grades. Parents are pressuring students to attend tutoring sessions; teachers are pressuring parents to ensure attendance; students are pressuring teachers to give them “make-up work” in order to pass. While that is quite normal, the lack of resources is causing an issue in which students who actually fail their courses may be pushed through due to lack of space in those courses next year.
Here is an example to clarify:
Joseph Smith is in an Algebra 1 class and has been consistently failing the entire year, despite numerous calls home, parent meetings, and many special considerations for accommodating his needs. At this point he is on his path to failing the course for the year. Unfortunately, because the upcoming Algebra 1 classes are full due to lack of resources, he will not be guaranteed a spot in the class next year. It is indeed possible for him to be “pushed forward” to the next math class, Geometry, without having mastered the content necessary to understand it. Or, in extreme cases, his grade will be changed to “just passing” so that he can more “legitimately” take the course.
I understand the importance of fiscal conservancy – I am no advocate for wasting money. However, if we want to ensure that the next generation of Philadelphia citizens is prepared for the future, we need to make sure they do not fall behind now. When you say the School District has been eaten to the bone in Philadelphia I disagree: I think we are way past that and need to make sure to get our money back.
One Letter Per Day Campaign