Answers to questions about the Pottstown School District (PSD)
Pottstown School District (PSD)
The greatest strength exhibited by the PSD is its ability to continue to function as a viable school district. Realize PSD is among the highest taxing districts in the state and at the same time it is among the lowest districts in competitive student test scores. If the district was an army it would have declared defeat long ago and surrendered. If it were a business it would be in bankruptcy and have discontinued operating.
This, I contend, is not necessarily caused as a direct function of our local school board or the present administration. They both are playing the hands dealt them by a flawed State system funded by local property taxes which is crippling PSD.
The biggest weakness exhibited by PSD is its inability to make a logical argument to the State Secretary of Education proving that students who start their school life in Pottstown and continue on through graduation are as good as any good student in any other district.
Pottstown, mired in a spiraling down economic woe of traditional rust belt devaluation caused by loss of industry thus jobs and resident's income, attracts transient families who move here to take advantage of low rental costs. Children of these families pop in and out of schools gaining few social skills necessary to allow them to learn in our pro scripted manner.
The fate of these children is very important but the fate of all the other children is important also. There has to be a method to evaluate the district's overall success in educating our young by discounting transient students from the whole. In order for Pottstown to attract new upwardly mobile families to move here to live the PSD must have an acceptable performance rating and the reliance on property taxes for education must cease.
In order for the community to help turn a weakness into a strength it must collectively get off its ass and demand through our legislators that reform is well over due and, if they want to continue having their jobs, real change must take place.
Day and evening every means of communication must be used by this group to contact our local state legislators so they begin to feel the discomforts of pressure. Then and only then by a mass effort can you create an environment which will have a chance to foment change.
Ronald C. Downie