A host of Catholic schools in Philadelphia are closes. Big deal.
‘This is tantamount to a death’
By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s announcement Friday that it was closing 45 elementary schools and four high schools set off shock waves of anger and grief that are reverberating across the region.
“This is tantamount to a death,” said Michael Wetzel, a veteran English teacher at Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast in Drexel Hill, which will close in June. “We’re taking it so hard because it was so unexpected and so unnecessary.”
Joan Weeney, who has taught at Our Lady of Mount Carmel elementary in South Philadelphia for 35 years, said teachers at her school had feared the worst.
“We kind of knew,” the fourth-grade teacher said. “We all dressed in black. It was a total day of mourning.”
As I’ve written before, I’m a big proponent of public education. Homeschooling is bad for society. So are private schools.Public education is in trouble, especially in a place like Philadelphia. I know that. But as long as people pull their kids out of public schools — and, let’s be honest, that’s usually the kids with the highest aptitude and the most resources — then our schools will continue to be in trouble.
When we, as a society, gird up our loins and give the public schools the resources they needs — and that means the finances and the children — then they will thrive. And nothing will benefit our society more than strong public schools (except maybe campaign finance reform).
And, just to preempt my friend Patrick’s inevitable comment, while I don’t think that the teachers’ unions necessarily need to be broken up, I do favor a system of merit-based pay and the discontinuation of tenure.