Nov 18, 2015

Allentown Goes To The Sweathogs

I describe myself as a Fonz type delinquent in high school. However, when I didn't respond respectfully enough, I was at the vice-principal's office within a minute. After being sent there more than twice, I was suspended. After the second suspension, you were expelled. Welcome Back Kotter was a fictional TV show, about school in the urban jungle, where delinquents were managed, and education was an afterthought. Who would have imagined that forty years later, Allentown would be making national news for student fights, and assaults on the police.

We just experienced an incredibly spirited school board race with candidates promising solutions. We have both the teachers and police exasperated by the violence. Truth is everybody will just trudge on, we have become the urban jungle, we have gone to the sweathogs.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

From this morning's Morning Call article 'Allentown Teachers: Schools are in Chaos'-- "Russ Mayo, superintendent of the Allentown School District...said he's hard-pressed to believe that everything the teachers said is true."
What an astounding statement! Mr. Mayo does not believe the teachers? It appears that Mr. Mayo, has a fundamental disrespect for the district's educators and has taken an adversarial stance. If the superintendent does not demonstrate respect for the district's educators, why should the students?!
Obviously there are many problems in the Allentown School District. Mr. Mayo's perspective seems to be one of them.

Monkey Momma said...

Mayo suggested "workshops" for parents. Seriously?? Workshops? If he thinks a few meetings with a few parents will help, he is deluded. Honestly, having him call these nameless teachers liars is so incredibly offensive and out of touch with reality. I never had a problem with anything Mayo has said before this, but now I recognize that he is just unable to recognize the truth: the schools ARE NOT safe for anyone. And they don't have the slightest idea how to fix it. His ridiculous statements to the paper just buried his credibility. I hope concerned parents in the ASD are paying attention: the man doesn't think there's a problem. So, it will not get fixed.

Kids cannot learn if they are not safe. That is the bottom line. I feel for all those kids who are probably terrified of school. Bless their hearts - it must be so scary for them. They deserve better.

Radical solutions are required for the ASD to continue to provide any kind of meaningful education. Shorten the school day if multiple study halls are part of every child's schedule. Boredom produces misbehavior. Demand a zero tolerance policy towards disruptive students - why is that so hard? Aren't the legal minds in the ASD sharp enough to devise a zero tolerance policy that upholds liberty for the well behaved kids? Come on, ASD - solutions can be simple if you just open your eyes and observe the problem.

Anonymous said...

It's the City Without Limits, isn't it?

Dreaming of Justice said...

Vinnie Barbarinooooooo

Anonymous said...

Cant be an *urban jungle* when there is no actual city.

feh

michael molovinsky said...

@10:08, the population hasn't increased, but the demographics have changed enormously. i have little use for POWER NE and other's who blame the current situation on institutional racism. monkey momma, i agree about zero tolerance, but also agree with mayo that the new urban poor parents are not providing adequate home support. perhaps workshops are not such a bad idea, for those parents at least interested in attending.

Concerned Allentonian said...

I'm curious which Schools the children in these new NIZ apartments attend?

Central, Harrison-Morton and Dieruff ?

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine that having to integrate foreign students into the school district (as a result of the Mayor's support for accepting Syrian refugees) will be helping the school district any. I'd have to assume that any school-age children will be ESL (English as a second language) students who will require additional attention and school district funds.

I think this is another example of what Scott Armstrong points out as the flawed decisions and policies of Ed Pawlowski that end up hurting the school district.

Anonymous said...

Next we will be hearing about the need to help these people with 'parenting skills.' Well, my parents 'skills' were born out of a balanced combination of respect and fear of consequences. And that extended to the schools, too.
We are in the third generation of babies having babies and this is what we get. These kids have a 'father' but no 'daddy.'

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Dr Mayo is correct, expulsions are down and since the uniforms came to the district behavior has been on a gradual trend towards improvement. Clearly the situation has changed dramatically recently and it is not yet clear exactly what the cause or causes are. As nothing as changed on the inside or within the district, policy or personnel wise one must assume outside factors are to blame.
I understand this isn't what many want to hear, this means firing people won't solve the problem. That fact however won't stop people from looking for heads and/or using the situation to grind their own axes or seek unrelated advantage. That was apparent in today's paper.

Scott Armstrong

Charlie Sch said...

It appears that ASD needs to make greater use of the capacity of the Jackson building, which is the school for middle school students with behavior problems. Additional resources would also be needed at the school. We need to separate the kids with 0% interest in learning from those who want to learn. That is why most parents send their kids to charter schools - not because the charter schools are any better academically, but because the charters are able to avoid serving most of the really disruptive students.

michael molovinsky said...

charlie@12:55, apparently, not all charter schools are created equal. the most recent student fight and assault on a police officer resulted in 7 students being arrested, all from the medical arts charter school.

Monkey Momma said...

Medical Arts charter is the worst of the worst. It's where kids who have been kicked out of all other alternative schools go. Many attend with ankle bracelets from juvie hall. It's not really "medical" at all.

Anonymous said...

I cant wait for the new niz millenials to start sending their children to the asd.

Anonymous said...

Do you get combat pay when you're hired to work in the asd?

doug_b said...

"Russ Mayo, superintendent of the Allentown School District...said he's hard-pressed to believe that everything the teachers said is true."

This is a typical management response. Years ago I worked for Raytheon Defense Systems. Projects never got completed, or completed on time, morale was low. So management brought in a firm to survey the employees (we were all engineers / programmers) as to the problems.

Well, when the management got the report - which was quite critical of the management, and told it like it was (with examples) - they soundly rejected it - cause it couldn't possibly be so. I remember they paid $1 million for that study.

Ditto to Mr Mayo.

michael molovinsky said...

@2:29 and doug@2:30; please understand the genesis of this morning call article. why did these teachers agree to this interview by the morning call, or did they request it, because in fact they're in the middle of a contract negotiation?

Anonymous said...

Mike,

It is my understanding the teachers' union organized the meeting with the press.

Scott Armstrong