The Silver Lining In The Cloud Over MLK High


INQUIRER: There is no shortage of awful, terrible Philadelphia stories to be told following last week’s release of the report by the city’s chief integrity officer, Joan Markman, on the Martin Luther King High School fiasco. You have the sordid details of backroom bullying, with an esteemed chair of the school board and a veteran legislator taking turns explaining to out-of-town charter-school operator Mosaica that things are different in Philadelphia and maybe he’d be better off leaving town. There’s the meteoric descent of Dwight Evans, a once-inspiring figure who has turned in a few short years into an all-too-common entitlement-addled pol. And of course you have City Council’s group shrug. The “What’s the big deal?” reaction to the affair arguably sheds more light on how things work in Philly than does Markman’s report itself. But these depressing plot lines do not tell the whole story. The very fact that the report exists – unstinting, tough, and available to the public – suggests that city government is, in the main, becoming more ethical, not less. MORE

PHAWKER: This is why Philadelphia schools suck so bad, this is why every hard-working couple of child-bearing age have plotted an escape to the suburbs by the third trimester, this is why a quarter of adults in Philly can’t read and almost half of all students don’t graduate, because before they even start kindergarten, before pencil ever touches paper, before chalk ever touches blackboard, every kid knows deep down on some sub-verbal level of intuition, the way dogs detect the approach of storms long before their masters do, that it ain’t about them. It’s not about reading and writing and arithmetic, it’s not about learning or enlightenment, it’s not about acquiring skills for survival in the modern adult world, it’s not about teachers or students, it’s about the money and the power, how it gets divided and who gets how much. And, on behalf of the children, fuck you all for that.

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