February 25, 2010

Flash-mob, misguided youth, or something else?

In Philadelphia the past week has been filled with some interesting discussions about youth and education.  The paper of record, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the independent Report created in response to the violence which took place last semester at South Philly High between Asian and Black youth (http://tinyurl.com/yhpx8yp).  In the same edition, the paper reported on an incident at the Gallery at Market East in Center City (downtown) Philly.  Approximately 100 youth were involved in what the press called a "flash-mob." 
(Fox 29 2/17/10 report on "Flash-mob" in Center City, Philadelphia)

Several questions come to mind...

  • Why are some children/youth classified as "animals" and worse by both the press and the public without reproach?  

  • Why do we (social justice educators, parents, concerned adults, people with common sense...) allow such a police state (as Dead Prez put it) to exist in our cities and public schools?  

  • Is there a singular place we can lay blame, or is it all of our fault?

  • Hopefully this blog will be a space where we can begin to have a discussion, debate on these and other issues.  The notion of reforming public education begins with thinking about the youth - not the adults.

    Too many public officials want to enact drastic measures to
     restrict student access to public transit (http://tinyurl.com/yfdtpyp), or worse, keep youth out of public spaces all together.  City comptroller of Philadelphia Alan Butkovitz and Inspector Edward Kachigian of the Central Division need to help the city come up with alternative options for youth not restrict their access to public transportation.

    There has to be an alternative compromise.  It is up to all of us to help guide these youth alternatives to choose better options and yes, give them tough love when they do wrong.  

    What we can't do is to continue to abandon them and expect them to figure out right from wrong on their own - often with long term deadly consequences.

    Peace - Stuart

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