Just finished reading in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the second straight day of riots at West Philadelphia High, after a popular principal learned he was being fired in a newspaper. Some quotes from the article:
“Problems at West Philadelphia High exploded last week after teachers there complained that assaults on staff in some cases were being downplayed. Initially, Vallas said he would replace James soon but he speeded the process after another staffer was attacked. On Friday, several small fires were set in the school and another teacher was assaulted during an evacuation…Two female students were arrested at the school entrance when metal detectors found a razor on one and a nail file on the other – items prohibited under the district weapons policy. More arrests are pending for two small fires that were set in lockers. The school was evacuated at 11 a.m. and again a short time later. Attendance was down to between 40 and 50 percent yesterday, said Ozzie Wright, acting co-principal. It’s usually at 75 percent.”
And then, the kicker – “District officials hope they can calm the school today so 11th graders can take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, the high-stakes test that determines whether schools meet federal achievement targets.”
I mean, come on, who’s being kidded here? What are you going to say to the kids? “Hey there, I know we’ve had two fires and several assaults over the past week, but we really want you to show up to fill out some bubbles on a test that has no real purpose. The standardized test tells the state how smart you guys are.”
My guess is the smart students are at home, watching the Wire and looking out for their own safety. If I’m a WPHS student right now, there are bigger issues than a standardized test. Sorry, Philly school staff.