Here in Philadelphia, education is a topic that has everyone talking. Usually here in Philly, the topic elicits such responses as:
- “….how do you spell that?”
- “Education? GO BIRDS!”
But lately the key word has been “Renaissance Schools”. Ok, that’s two words, but that’s also the point–kids here aren’t learning, so the District has enacted something they’re calling “Renaissance Schools”; it’s that kind of a phrase that makes something sound powerful when it’s really quite limp, like the phrase “erectile dysfunction”.
With “Renaissance Schools”, the plan is to give every inner-city kid, in every Philly classroom an easel in an attempt to spark learning and achievement through rendered nude paintings.
Ok, not really, but the real definition isn’t much better.
See, the “Renaissance Schools” are the lowest-performing schools in the city that have been targeted for extreme reform/rebirth.
Under the provisions of Renaissance Schools, the schools will fire/release/taser the entire staff and allow up to 50% to return. From there, the school will either be managed by the remaining staff (an undoubtedly plucky bunch at this rate), or some outside manager, like a charter or Mark Cuban.
Sounds great, right? Well, let’s do a test.
The Kids Don’t Get It’s Guide to Understanding Renaissance Schools:
Ok. Take a hammer and smash your hand. You choose whichever hand you want.
Now, at this point you’re probably “crying” and possibly “bleeding”; for the purposes of this exercise we’ll call that “the classroom experience”.
Now, chances are, because you couldn’t evenly drop the hammer, some of your fingers are probably ok. Probably like your thumb and your pinky. Awesome. Now look at your hand. Looks pretty broken and fugged-up, huh? We’ll call your entire hand “school” and your fingers……eh, what the hell, “staff”. Man, they look pretty mangled too, huh! Bet they can’t do much good in that condition. Bet you’re probably looking over at your good hand and remembering what your mangled hand could look like, too, what with its straight fingers and coordination over there in Lower Merion I mean, on the left.
Ok, now cut all your fingers off. Please, please, bear with me.
Ok, now look at your, er, hand. Congratulations, your hand has undergone “Renaissance”!
Now, the choice is yours!
a. re-attach 1/2 fingers in an attempt to regain some semblance of your old hand?
b. maybe just take back only one or two of the “good fingers” and leave the rest (hey, that won’t be weird, right!)
c. get a new hand altogether. I mean, there is the chance that it won’t match your body (it could be an orangutan paw, or a robot hand or an Asian woman’s hand like in DC), but you know, it could also work
But the choice is yours. But I warn you, if you pick “a” or “b”, you’re probably not going to get any new fingers that are going to be any good, which means you’re not getting any dates, which means now you’ll have to learn how to continue f-cking yourself with the same hand (only now it’s 50% better!). And “c”? Well…..I dunno…..I mean an orangutan’s paw might mean you get a better grip on things, and a robot hand is probably efficient and strong, but pretty cold-feeling and selective (we have that here, too) but what if you randomly get an Asian woman’s hand? You might only end up strangling yourself the whole time. Oh, and bang former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson. Do you want to bang Kevin Johnson? I don’t. Not anymore.
So there you have; now you understand Renaissance Schools! In no time you’ll be the talk of the town.
And there you have it; the Hurt Locker. As you can see, like virtually any and every education reform idea lately, this plan could’ve been given any number of Oscar-related titles, like:
Up in the Air
The Blind Side
A Serious Man–ok that doesn’t fit, but you get the idea.
So what’re you waiting for, dear reader? Get out there and show the people! Ask’em if they know what reform looks like! After all, when one finger’s pointing at someone, four are (hopefully) pointing back at you.