By William B. Carroll
Two former teachers in the Philadelphia school system who have children or grandchildren currently enrolled said that while they have concerns about the district’s failing grade, they also have faith in the people who are there.
The Mississippi Department of Education’s unofficial projected grades for school districts for 2017-2018 were made public last week, and the Philadelphia Public Schools is expected to earn an “F,” which set off a firestorm of criticism, even from the mayor.
“The scores do concern me,” said mother Abby Jenkins, one of the teachers. “However, my children did well, so I know that teaching is taking place.”
Jenkins, who was a high school counselor at PES until she left to take a job at EMCC in Scooba, has two children in the district currently, one a fourth grader and the other a sixth grader. Jenkins said that not only do her children go to the elementary school, but she retains a fondness for the district due to her time there.
“I feel like I left a chunk of my heart when I left that place,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said because of her background she is biased in favor of the teachers.
“I feel like the school gets a bad rap for things at home,” Jenkins said. “Parents have got to take charge of their children’s education. They can’t expect the school to do everything for them.”
Jenkins said due to her experience working in the school and her children attending school she feels that teachers and administrators are doing what they need to do.
“I don’t feel that there are any administrator’s or teachers neglecting their duties,” she said.
Philadelphia School Superintendent Lisa Hull said that the district’s “F” rating was not acceptable and she noted that the district started working in May of last year on methods of improvement. She also called into question the grade and what it means for the district.
“Philadelphia welcomes accountability, but looking at only one year of performance in isolation of previous years is damaging to our children, teachers, administrators, the school and the community,” Hull said.
Last year the district received a “C.”