ONTD Political

Philly is better than you, etc.

9:38 pm - 01/15/2013
Zombies dance to protest school closings

The music began, and the zombies lurched to life, moving together to the strains of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Behind them, students held up signs: “RIP Philly’s Schools.”

Dozens of youth — members of the organizing group Philadelphia Student Union — gathered outside the Philadelphia School Distirct’s headquarters on North Broad Street Tuesday to protest a plan to close 37 city schools in June.

The zombies danced for a few minutes, then collapsed in a heap.

“We represent the students affected by the closing plan,” Benjamin Franklin High sophomore Hausim Talbot said later. “Our hopes would be dead.”

District officials have said if they don’t shut schools, they will run out of cash to operate. They estimate the closings will save about $28 million, though that figure doesn’t factor in transition and startup costs for the next school year.

Talbot, 15, reiterated a call for a moratorium on school closings. The Philadelphia Student Union is part of Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, a group that’s developed an alternative plan for keeping schools open.

That plan relies largely on successfully lobbying for huge increases in state aid.

South Philadelphia High senior Chris Riley said he understands the district says it’s in bad shape.

“But if this happens, it’s a destroyed future,” Riley said. “If you don’t have education, you can’t get a job.”

District officials have said that closings would allow them to funnel more resources into surviving schools, but the students were skeptical.

Amijah Townsend, her mouth darkened by red makeup, said that priorities needed to be shifted.

“There is money to be used,” said Townsend, 16. “It’s in the state budget, but it’s not being prioritized for students.”

wrestlingdog 16th-Jan-2013 03:03 am (UTC)
Oh, Philly. Never change.
girly123 16th-Jan-2013 04:06 am (UTC)
“There is money to be used,” said Townsend, 16. “It’s in the state budget, but it’s not being prioritized for students.”

Preach, child.
harumi 16th-Jan-2013 04:45 am (UTC)
There will be no "funneling" of money to surviving schools. I teach in Philly, and we got a huge number of students this year because of the school closings, and we're getting LESS funding, not more. We're currently over capacity. Our school was meant to house at most 2,000 students. Right now we have around 3,000.

The truth is that this is all a ploy to privatize public schools and get rid of public schools altogether. Education is starting to become a business. Welcome to Corporate America.
crossfire 16th-Jan-2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
Pretty much.
oystermato 16th-Jan-2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
That's AWFUL that your funding DECREASED, for goodness sake. It's infuriating. It's illogical. It puts more stress on the teachers and students. Having 30 people, let alone MORE that that, is overwhelming as fuck.


missjersey 16th-Jan-2013 05:50 am (UTC)
I just... *sigh* this makes me so sad. I don't understand how people put EDUCATION so low on the priority list.
strwbrri_shrtck 16th-Jan-2013 06:25 am (UTC)
and then when you don't have the required education, you can't get a job.... it makes no sense at all.
zhiva_the_mage 16th-Jan-2013 08:09 am (UTC)
well, it's those students' fault! If they were smart, they would choose rich families to be born in!

zhiva_the_mage 16th-Jan-2013 08:10 am (UTC)
# Amijah Townsend, her mouth darkened by red makeup, said that priorities needed to be shifted. #

How is her makeup relevant to the topic?
wrestlingdog 16th-Jan-2013 11:58 am (UTC)
muggy_wump 16th-Jan-2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
Because she's dressed as a zombie?
the_gabih 16th-Jan-2013 12:57 pm (UTC)
I came here to say the exact same thing. Like, of all the things to focus on, why that?
maladaptive 16th-Jan-2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
Probably because she's a zombie drooling blood, though they should have worded it differently so it didn't read as bright red lipstick.
tabaqui 16th-Jan-2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
For fuck's sake. How much less educated are we going to allow our kids to be? How can we *not care* to the point of closing schools and cramming students into fewer and fewer, less-funded buildings like sardines?

It's ridiculous, infuriating - grotesque. I feel so damn bad for these kids. WTF are they supposed to do? How is this serving them, or the greater good of the country as a whole?
lolahead 16th-Jan-2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
Philly schools are a mess and they have been...and I don't forsee it changing any time soon. My little sister teaches elementary school in Philly and was layed off last June and rehired in the fall because they didn't want to pay their young teachers over the summer...

To be honest though, they are closing schools that are too expensive to keep running. Most of the buildings are old and falling appart. These kids will still be able to go to school, it will just be a different school. It's not like once their school closes they will just sit at home because there's nowhere to go. This will; however, increase the over-all number of students in the other schools, which means more chance for a student to get lost in the masses.

bestdaywelived 16th-Jan-2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
Seriously. It started well before Arlene Ackerman took over, but she really did a number on the district while she was in her position.

I think the Philadelphia school system needs a complete overhaul.
redstar826 16th-Jan-2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
It would have been nice if the article writer would have included some actual information about what enrollment looked like, whether or not there is extra room in the other schools, etc. Sometimes school closings are necessary and sometimes they aren't. There is really not much indication either way from this article. School closings seem to almost always draw protests of some sort since no one likes to see their neighborhood school go away (especially if there are no immediate plans for what will be done with the vacant building) and kids hate switching schools. My own district has closed a number of schools over the years and sold off some properties, but it's been for the best since enrollment is down and we are no longer at the point where we need an elementary school in every neighborhood.
bestdaywelived 16th-Jan-2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
I think the article writer assumed that anyone reading would be familiar with what's going on in Philadelphia schools because the Inquirer covers it very frequently.

A lot of this is for budgetary reasons rather than enrollment. A lot of the school buildings in Philadelphia are in horrific shape, and it's too expensive to repair them. However, the other schools are mostly full or overcrowded, so this isn't a good choice, either.

Philadelphia is the next district over from Upper Darby, where they actually stopped paying their teachers at some point last year because they ran out of funding.
smirk_dog 16th-Jan-2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
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