(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from a Citified insider.)
If you’re a parent in the School District of Philadelphia, you may have worried that officials would try to close your school. Or that your child wouldn’t have a nurse, would have to walk two miles just to get to school, or that their favorite teacher would strike.
But City Council has a different worry: Can your child read and write cursive?
My school has no air conditioning, one-fifth of a nurse, a rotating school-police officer, and the only technology upgrades are the ones we literally lug onto a truck ourselves. Writing this on a 90-degree day, my response to CursiveGate is entirely inappropriate for Citified and begins with a capital “F.” Whether that “F” contains the proper ascenders and descenders is at Council’s discretion.
Jim Kenney, the city’s presumptive next mayor, may have an easier time pushing his education agenda through Council than Nutter has.
School activist Helen Gym will likely sit in City Council next year. And in a mayoral election where education was the No. 1 issue, Kenney won a clear majority against five opponents, one of whom was funded by school-choice oligarchs. He has, dare I say, a mandate.
And yet, the mayor has little direct power over schools. But Kenney will be far from powerless. Here are four things he can do to support strong schools for every child: