A new survey shows that Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate of any of the nation’s 10 largest cities.
28% of the city’s people are poor, as are 39% of its children. The national child poverty rate is 23%.
Now we know from reformers that poverty is no “excuse” for low test scores, but we also know from the reality-based world that low income is highly correlated with low test scores. If you want to learn more, read Richard Rothstein’s “Class and Schools,” or google Helen Ladd’s “Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence.”
Thus, it makes no sense to strip the city’s schools of the arts, physical education, librarians, guidance counselors, social workers, and every other support personnel. These children desperately need a good education.
The state of Pennsylvania has a constitutional obligation to educate its children.
And the state thus far has cynically told Philadelphia to extract more taxes from its impoverished population. That is worse than no answer. That is negligence of a high order.
When the next election comes round, the people of Pennsylvania should hold accountable those who inflicted harm on the state’s most vulnerable children.