Posted tagged ‘anthony hardy williams’

Not Smart Enough…

May 7, 2015

Philadelphia is a Democrat city… at least as party registrations are concerned. The Mayoral primary is scheduled for next Tuesday and the field of six are beating the bushes trying to secure enough votes to get on the November ballot (and almost certain victory).

Big money is in the race too. Two candidates, Anthony Hardy Williams and Jim Kenny have been supported by deep pockets, Williams by suburban based financiers and Kenny by city based unions. The other candidates have been left to pass the hat.  Not surprisingly, Kenny and Williams appear tied in polls.

The local TV and newspapers have done a reasonably good job interviewing each candidate and making available to the public the candidates’ views on a wide range of issues, from taxes, to schools to policing. All of the candidate looked like utter fools with their proposals on school funding, most likely because they were advised to wait until elected mayor before telling the public that taxes must be increased. Never the less, the public has an idea of who’s running.

One of the policies on the minds of about 45% of Philadelphians is the stop and frisk police procedure. For many African Americans this is a discriminatory practice and should be stopped. Hmmm.

Since the current Mayor (Michael Nutter) took office and appointed Charles Ramsey Police Chief, the homicide rate has decreased each year and stands now 46% of 2007. Part of Ramsey efforts has been “stop and frisk”.

Williams said this week that he would fire Chief Ramsey if elected because the Chief was the architect of “stop and frisk”. Williams said he was listening to the people and would take this action once elected. Hmmm.

Mayor Nutter who has stood mainly on the sidelines during the primary campaign and who is term limited and can’t run, issued a statement that said “if someone is not smart enough to recognize the decrease in homicides, then that person is probably not smart enough to run the rest of city government”.

Of course a poorly managed “stop and frisk” policy could run the risk of violating individual rights. And with the recent spate of “police on black” incidents, Philadelphia “stop and frisk” also needs to be carefully administered or excesses can happen.

For a city which once boasted over one homicide per day, it is refreshing to see this senseless number decreasing. And more than anything else, guess which section of Philadelphia where these homicides take place?

I hope African American voters can see that Williams is probably not smart enough for their best interests.

Money Speaks, But Does It Think All The Way Through The Problem

April 2, 2015

In the upcoming Philadelphia mayoral race, big money is making its presence felt. What is surprising is that the big money (from three investors in Susquehanna Investors) expect something in return. What, how can that be?

The three investors are not reticent to acknowledge they expect the potential Mayor to be sympathetic to their cause – more charter schools in the impoverished section of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, like other large cities, has a huge problem with K-12 education, especially in the 9-12 grades. By this age, the poverty condition from which many of the students come, has subverted the high school’s educational mission into simply survival from gang-like dysfunctional behavior. How can students who want to learn attain an education in this type of environment?

The answer, these investors have said is to syphon the brighter, willing to study students from public schools and put them into charter schools. For parents who fear for their children, this is a very appealing alternative.

The growth of charter schools in other large cities has already answered similar needs for parents so the idea is not novel. The political battle pitting teacher’s unions, school administrators, educational experts, and local residents, however, has settled on a certain number of charters. These investors want to target the poorest sections of Philadelphia and increase the number of charters in these districts. What’s wrong with this?

The Philadelphia situation is close to desperate with graduation rates hovering around 50% and institutional poverty only getting worse as so many young men and women enter the work force with no degree and no skills. Worse, Pennsylvania State legislature has no interest in sending more money for Philadelphia school and the Philadelphia City Counsel is reluctant to raise taxes to close school budget gaps. The conditions of schools in the poorest districts are just getting worse. So again, what’s wrong with charters?

The short answer is charters lead to the increasing the concentration of disciplinary and special needs students in the already dysfunctional schools. More charter schools is equivalent to throwing less fit people out of the life boat so that those more educationally competitive can survive. Hmmm.

If charter schools were required to accept the same population as the public school it replaced, and the non-union, the highly motivated teachers and administrators were put to the task of out performing the current union teachers and legacy administrators, this experiment would soon determine whether “selectivity” or “charter/public was the route to better schools.

Regrettably, more charters shed no light upon what to do with those students who are not taken into a charter school. Maybe these investors “money” has some ideas about that too.