Outrage rumbles on in the Philadelphia community with the news of the closing of 37 public schools that are scattered throughout the area. The intention is for the school district to save money. If the closings go as planned, the schools will begin being shut down as early as June of this year. Observing the issue on a deeper level, some people believe the schools targeted for closing will affect minority groups, the low-income families and individuals with disabilities. A federal investigation is to be taken up to the district.
The reasoning behind school closings began with the district not being able to pay their bills any longer, as well as mounting debt. In an effort to help save money there were 37 public schools selected to close: 23 elementary schools, 6 middle schools and 9 high schools. These schools are mainly in areas mostly made up of African-American and Latino individuals.Community groups, including The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS), Juntos (a non-profit that works for equal rights for the Latino immigrant community) and the local NAACP are fighting the district’s decisions.
The community feels they were given little explanation for why these schools are closing, besides the complaint of poor finances. The community is asking how will schools that are not closing operate smoothly? Taking in more students could overcrowd the schools.
Most, if not all the schools, which were proposed to shut down are also on a list of the lowest achieving schools that the Pennsylvania Department of Education published earlier this month. The department affirms that going to a different school can benefit students, giving them a better education. The issue raises the question: how will there be enough funding for schools remaing open, especially if some of them are not in the best conditions in the first place? The fight for these schools continues as the community and the district try to make some type of agreement, if any agreement can be reached.