Remember your excitement on the first day of school? Doesn’t matter which year, any one will do.
Now imagine that you don’t know which class you’re in yet.
A single secretary, overwhelmed by the 2400 students she is in charge of, greets you on your way in.
You see that your favorite teachers are gone.
Walking into the classroom, with 39 other students, you realize there isn’t a desk for you (if there are any desks at all).
Some of your classmates are grieving the loss of their friend, who drowned over the weekend. They can’t talk to a professional about it, because your school no longer has a counselor.
Your teacher walks in, informs you that you’ll have to share books and instructs you to come take a piece of recycled paper from the box at the front of the room (you can write on the back).
It’s time for AP English. The class has been canceled, though. There aren’t enough teachers to have AP courses this year.
At lunch, you notice they have chicken nuggets (but only five TOPS), French fries (half a handful), and bananas (the tiny ones).
Your after lunch music class is canceled. There’s no one to teach it.
You decide to stop at the library instead. Too bad there is no longer a librarian to staff it.
It’s been a pretty sad first day, right?
I made none of that up.
Parents in the Philadelphia School District were encouraged to tweet their first day of school stories. Reading through them, I heard things that made me cringe as a teacher, and broke my heart. Is this how we treat our children? Is this really how it should be? If you can truly with 100% confidence say yes, I highly doubt you’re even human.
I knew the Philadelphia school system had it bad (see my post on MIA Fest, where Public Enemy pledged to donate $10,000 to the district), but I could never have imagined the true extent.
It almost makes me wish I wasn’t in grad school and could just go to a school to help. Who cares what or when? I’m certified, I’m willing, I’ll bring my own dang paper. Dear god, just someone give these poor kids an education.
And the ones that need special services or therapy? Oh dear Lord, I can’t even think about it.
(If you’re interested in reading more (and crying yourself to sleep..?), check out #philly1stday on twitter)