What's Wrong With Philly's Schools?

March 16, 2021 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Wyncote, PA (March 16, 2021) –Twenty years in the making, Sub exposes the link between education underfinancing and the impact students with unmanaged emotional and behavioral disabilities are having in classrooms across the US. Sub is Philadelphia native Clayvon C. Harris's heartfelt, first-hand account of the real-life challenges teachers and students face every day inside a broken education system.

A substitute teacher with the School District of Philadelphia-the largest public school system in Pennsylvania-Harris completed over 90 assignments (including five long-term gigs) across 67 different schools. Part narrative, part investigative journalism, Sub's accessible and engaging journey begins as she jumps into the teaching pool with five hours of training and a salary of $40 per day.

At the outset, Harris is determined to make a difference. After coming face-to-face with overwhelmed administrators, burned-out teachers, and chaotic classrooms dominated by a few out-of-control students, she quits, pledging never to return.

Fifteen years, four superintendents, three mayors, and one statewide cheating scandal later, Harris returns to the School District to see what, if anything, has changed. While there was improvement in some areas, her overall experience begs a straightforward answer to a deceptively simple question: What's wrong with Philly's public schools?

Sub is divided into three sections, and schools discussed are identified only by number (Public School #1, #2, etc.) to maintain anonymity. Part 1 chronicles 17 schools (elementary, middle, and high schools) from her first tour through the District in 2001-02. Part 2 covers what has happened with those specific schools and includes a running tally of "below basic proficiency" standardized test scores.

Part 3, "Back Inside the SDP…15 Years Later," consists of additional stories from inside the classrooms and an in-depth analysis of inequitable funding and the well-meaning but misguided inclusion mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA dictates that all children with special needs, even those with unmanaged "disruptive disorders," such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), ADHD, and dyslexia, be included "to the maximum extent appropriate" in general education classrooms.

"But allowing students to upset the education process day after day is far from appropriate," says Harris. "That daily disturbance not only holds back the entire class, it can also be traumatic for students who do not have disruptive disabilities and who want to learn."

The devastating events of 2020 have reinforced the importance of racial justice and continued movement toward social equity. That equity includes access to quality education for all children. Now is the perfect time to take a fresh look at needed change. Sub provides that fresh look.

Published by Angelwalk, Sub is available in hardback and paperback editions now.

Please see the Inclusion Mandate attachment for the text of IDEA Regulations and The Inclusion Effect

About Clayvon C. Harris:
Writer, advocate for fair and equal education, Clayvon C. Harris earned an MFA in Cinema-Television/Screenwriting from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. She also holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College, where students are taught they have the ability to change the world.

Harris lives and writes in the Philadelphia area, where she specializes in messaging strategy, digital content creation, and script development. She is also a member of the Writers Guild of America. Her first book is the award-winning collection of essays, Year of Trial, Year of Grace-A Catholic's Search for Faith.

About Sub:
Hardback: $28.95 • ISBN: 978-0-9881797-3-8 • 468 pages
Paperback: $17.95 • ISBN: 978-0-9881797-2-1 • 468 pages
eBook: Set for Q1 2021 release

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