I mentioned another school, Masterman, that also has educational opportunities for children who are capable of handling an advanced level of classes. I left out other good schools like Girl's High which used to be Central's sister school. Other Philadelphia's high schools have sub schools inside them that allow students with the ability to take classes to advance them through to a chosen profession if they are willing to work for it. I submit the following.
Students from all parts of the School District of Philadelphia student population compete to attend the Northeast High School Medical, Engineering and Aerospace Magnet School. The Magnet School Program provides a rigorous college preparatory program which attracts students with strong science and math aptitudes. The goal of the magnet school is to provide the education and that will engage the students and encourage them to pursuing careers in the medical fields, engineering, and the aerospace sciences.
Project SPARC is the after-school activity of the Medical, Engineering and Aerospace Magnet School within the Northeast High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Magnet School provides a full time academic curriculum to over 600 highly motivated students from the city wide urban population of students of the School District of Philadelphia. The Magnet School is a competitive entry school that attracts students with an interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The Magnet School provides a full time college preparatory program of studies to students with strong science and math aptitudes who are interested in pursuing careers in medical fields, engineering and the aerospace sciences.
This is in Northeast High that people may remember as the school Tony Danza taught at for a reality based TV show. If you saw the show you woiuld realize this is not a suburban wonderland of privilidge.
Again I did not intend this to be a discussion of the Philadelphia's Public school system, but it is turning into that, so here goes. In Philadelphia, you do not have to attend your neighborhood high school. You are free to chose which ever High school you want. There are various entire school's for special education. Central, Masterman, and Girl's high are all schools for kids who want to commit to a extremely rigorous standards. There is a school I mentioned for the Creative and performing arts (think Fame). Like i posted other schools have smaller programs that range from the SPARCs program above, to Washington's high IB program. There are also stand alone Vocational schools, like Dobbins.
Each year all the incoming Freshman are invited to Temple university, for a high school fair. Each school has a table that presents it's special offerings.there are things like HVAC programs. The children then apply to whichever schools they like regardless of thier location. We have a robust public transportation system. All Middle and High School students receive free bus/subway passes regardless of financial need. There are no yellow school buses. This allows any child, with the desire to attend any school in Philadelphia to do so.
Now as to funding. We had a republican governor who visciously slashed Philadelphia's school funding. The schools were begging parents to help supply paper and other essentials. One advantage to this magnet driven program is even schools located in poorer areas have some students with resources above the neighborhood norm. Any way, my son's school, Central, had just won a major award, and Tom Corbett decide to go to the school to present the award in person, showing the Republican dream, that schools could still perform with less was achievable. That morning he found out the students were outside en mass to protest his arrival. He decided not to show up. He then went down to the main school building instead,and about a 1000 students jumped on the subway and chased the governor across the city. Not one of Tom's prouder moments. He ducked out the back and never met with them.
Philadelphia's public schools have their problems, like any big city. they do not have the funding and with inner city problems do not have the ability to save every child. A child who has had a bad home life, and whose family does not value education, may fail no matter how much funding you throw at them. All I know is I came from Kennsington (Think Rocky) and the school district told me if I work hard, and keep out of trouble they will provide a way for me to flourish. I will be taught by excellent teachers. I will be required to ride a bus and a subway to a far flung school rather than my local school, but I will be given the opportunity to learn German, advanced physics, and other subjects that could not be provide at every school. So whether you do not think Philadelphia's magnet system is fair, you have to at least agree it is a plan, rather than warehousing kids in one school where some are board and some are lost because of the pace and scope.
If you read this far Thanks. I am passionate about this because they did serve me and my family and I will always be indebted to the teachers who pushed me as far as I could go. I hope you don't think it would have been better if I failed just because they couldn't possibly save everyone.