Sunday, March 27, 2005

Paul Vallas continues on

Via America's Hometown, check out Paul Vallas' piece on Philly schools playing in the State (PIAA) playoffs for the first time in their history.

From the article:
Our students have traversed the state, sometimes venturing outside Philadelphia for the first time, erasing cultural lines and changing preconceptions while forming new friendships.

PIAA membership is well worth the investment. Less than three years ago, it wasn't uncommon for the District to spend less than $250,000 a year on sports equipment while neglecting indoor and outdoor athletic facilities. Now, the District is spending more than $27 million to upgrade programs and implement non-traditional urban school district programs like golf and crew.

....

As we deepen our investment, we are raising our expectations of our athletes. We have toughened our academic standards so our athletes can be college bound and able to take advantage of athletic scholarships when they are seen by a wider variety of college coaches and recruiters.

Everyone at the District is pulling together to ensure that our students have the tools they need to perform at their best. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has agreed to give us the flexibility of using retired coaches to fill vacancies and to hire assistant coaches from outside the teaching ranks. Coaches will be evaluated each season by their principal and athletic director in order to keep the bar high. PIAA participation gives our coaches a chance to coach under different situations and see different playing styles. Already, non-league games are scheduled for this school year and beyond with teams from throughout the state.

....

Our students will continue to exceed our expectations- on the field, in the classroom and in their day-to-day lives as integral members of our community.
Ed Rendell thought he he was doing Philly a huge service when he brought in, and stuck by, David Hornbeck. Unfortunately, despite being a very smart man, Hornbeck had the political sense of Michael Dukakis. Now, instead, we have Vallas, who in a way is really the Ed Rendell of the school system: Smart, self-promoting, demanding changes, and pushing everyone to expect more. May he continue as School CEO for as long as possible.

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