Ponderous PSEA, Virulent Violence Verified

Last December, the Commonwealth Foundation urged lawmakers to offer kids in Pennsylvania’s worst violent, failing schools a lifeline, and give them school choice for Christmas. We delivered bouquets of 17 white roses Case for School Choiceto every legislator to highlight that students in the bottom-5 percent of the commonwealth’s schools endure a violent act every 17 minutes.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association pooh-poohed the effort, and that of lawmakers working to grant an immediate escape through vouchers to kids trapped in the worst 143 schools: “In situations where you don’t have good facts, you tend to escalate your rhetoric,” a PSEA spokesman said.

Philadelphia is home to 88 of the schools in the bottom-5 percent. The city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safe Schools just released a 41-page report detailing the protracted problem of violence in its schools (otherwise known as “good facts”). The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

The facts are sobering, if not surprising—the Philadelphia School District has failed to report crime consistently, offers too little help for students traumatized by violence, and fails to implement the most effective methods citywide.

Such problems are entrenched and hard to fix, requiring time students cannot afford, especially given the only PSEA prescription appears to be willful neglect of those facts.  Why not rescue these students now, and allow their families to use their tax dollars at a safer, better school of their choice? Facing weapons, assaults and robberies every day is no way to live, and certainly no way to get an education.