Restructuring needed for SDP success

Both overcrowding and under-capacity plague Philadelphia’s public school system.

Maybe growing up in the New York City school system clouds my judgment of Philadelphia public schools, but there are many issues throughout the city’s education system that need to be addressed.

In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 1,449,634 people live in Philadelphia. As the population continues to grow, school enrollment should increase as well. However, there are 43,500 empty seats in the classrooms within the School District of Philadelphia.

This problem will certainly grow in the coming years.

Despite the lack of students to fill desks, there is overcrowding in schools throughout Mayfair, Kensington, Fishtown, Port Richmond, Bridesburg, Frankford and Juniata.

There are more than 167,000 students enrolled in the city’s public schools. That number is quite large considering there are several schools with less than 50 percent their full capacities.

While the city is still struggling to address this issue, Temple students have their own opinions on the situation.

“When dealing with overcrowding, the next option is trying to reduce the ratio of student to staff,” said David Kamara, a senior political science major.

Kamara also suggested implementing rotating block schedules so that some students can eat lunch or go to gym class while others are learning, reducing the number of students in the classroom.

The idea of a rotating block schedule came about in the 1990s as a solution to increasing overcrowding within inner-city schools across the United States.

New York City has been dealing with a serious overcrowding situation for several years.

I am a product of the New York City public school system and think the overcrowding issues seemed to be addressed rather efficiently.

Philadelphia also needs to address the issue.

Maybe busing students a little farther from home to the closest under-crowded school is not such a bad idea. Maybe creating school shifts, where older kids come into school at a later time than younger kids, might help the overcrowded schools. Maybe some institutions will have to be closed, combined or made into specialized institutions to attract a greater population of students in the city, no matter how far they will have to travel.

The fact remains that Philadelphia public schools are continuously growing more and more overcrowded, while several institutions remain less than half full of students to educate. There is a huge loss of benefit when you have educators at an establishment with no students or students at an establishment without enough one-on-one time with their teachers.

The key to the success of achieving the American dream is driven by education. By Philadelphia’s not actively seeking a solution to the matter, it is setting its students up for failure, not success.

Tara Moore can be reached at

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