Philadelphia schools don’t have to be violent

“Compulsory education laws make it extremely difficult for administrators to address the startling level of violence in Philadelphia’s school system. The law says that all students have a right to an education, and that right extends even to the most troubled and unruly children. Simply throwing chronic rule-breakers out of classrooms and onto the streets is not an option.

Violence in schools, however, is not totally unmanageable. Here are 10 ways district officials could help improve safety and foster a better learning environment in the city’s public schools: . . .”

This is an excerpt from my commentary in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Philadelphia school don’t have to be violent.”  Please click here to read the entire article.  You can respond or provide feedback by clicking on the comment button below.

Thanks for reading.

–Christopher Paslay

5 thoughts on “Philadelphia schools don’t have to be violent

  1. I think you are way off base. There are too many disruptive kids in some of the inner city schools and they have to be separated from the kids who want to learn, “permanently expelled” is not an option. Teaching them in a different way, is. And blaming charter schools for “skim the best students” is off base, too. You obviously are not poor with children you want to have an education. Charter schools are an alternative for inner city families. Go visit some of the successful charter schools in the city and you’ll see some outstanding educational environments. But of course, charter schools are not unionized. That wouldn’t be by any chance a factor in your evaluation of charter schools, would it?

  2. Ron,

    I’m confused. You say I’m way off base because “there are too many disruptive kids in some of the inner city schools and they have to be separated from the kids who want to learn, “permanently expelled” is not an option. Teaching them in a different way, is.” Go back reread what I wrote, which stated that we must OVERHAUL CURRICULUM, and GIVE KIDS MORE OPTIONS FOR LEARNING.

    Seccond: Here is an important fact about charters: There was a study known as CREDO which evaluated student progress on math tests in half the nation’s five thousand charter schools and concluded that 17 percent were superior to a matched traditional public school; 37 percent were worse than the public school; and the remaining 46 percent had academic gains no different from that of a similar public school.

    The fact is, charters are not the magic bullet for education.

    Thanks for writing.


  3. I thought this was a terrific set of ideas. I might debate some details, but overall, what appeals to me about these recommendations is that they are all doable — some probably even in the face of inadequate funding and budget cuts. Thank you, Chris.

  4. Chris

    I thought your list was right on target. I especially agree with The needs and challenges of the troubled few shouldn’t take precedence over the education of the many.

    One high school student who won’t/can’t sit down and learn can ruin the educational experience of 32 others. Multiply that by the number of classes that teen goes through in a day (usually 6 more, not counting lunch) and you have 182 students deprived of learning in a single day. Next multiply that number by 180 school days and you get a real picture of what out of control students can do to education.

    Putting that disruptive student in an alternative school (suggestion #2) and/or allowing him to learn a trade that he’s interested in (#9) can make all the difference in the world to so many people. Thank you for writing a thoughtful, sensible article. If only the people at 440 would read it and take it to heart!

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