Ron Costello

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Similarities Between Phillies and Schools

The 2015 Phillies and the School District of Philadelphia share similar deep rooted problems; problems not easily fixed by money or change in leadership — half of Philly is calling for Junior's head, and the last Superintendent of Schools was shown the door!

Perhaps the Fightins' and the schools can learn from each another. 

First,  there's funding. As you may know, the Philly schools are mired in a fight with Harrisburg to get more money. 


The district says it's $2.6 billion budget will fall short by $80 million. Next year the district says it will need $370 million more to execute Superintendent William R. Hite Jr's budget.

Well what do you  know. Two Junior's at the wheel. And you thought I was making this up.

Ideas have floated around to increase taxes on real estate and to place taxes on soda and cigarettes. Some current mayoral candidates have offered to sue Harrisburg to get more school funding, and to get more votes.


"I intend to fix the schools," each one says. Sure, that's been a sing-song since Frank Rizzo ruled the roost, and City Hall was at Broad and Shunk.

Only cigarettes won out and are helping. When you buy a pack of smokes in Philly, you help put money in the school  district's coffers. The two dollar a pack tax was created in October of 2014. The only city in the world where death and disease combine to help educate kids. 

Why not? They'll smoke themselves to death, anyway.

The Phillies need money, too, but in a roundabout way. Truth is they need less money. 


With a bloated payroll of $147 million, the club is relegated to signing Delmon Young-type players in order to tread water and wait out the expiration of long term contracts to Howard, Lee, Papelbon, Utley, and Chooch. 

Freeing up the aforementioned salaries would bring the Phillies' payroll down near Atlanta's $97 million, but still some $25 million higher than the Astros.

If you haven't noticed lately, Houston is nursing a comfortable lead in the American League West with that $72 million payroll. Amazing! Speaking of amazing, the Mets are also doing well in the National League East on a payroll just over the Mendoza Line of  $101 million.
       
Francoeur, Sizemore, Harang, and Williams may not be exactly Delmon Young types in quality, but the Phillies got them cheap late in their careers, so I think the comparison (to DY) fits. 
     
Even 30 year old Chad Billingsley (1 year, $1.5 million), was gotten on the cheap. By the way, Billingsley made his Phillies debut Tuesday night in Atlanta. He didn't do well, but at least his arm held up.

In similar fashion, while the school district waits for the state to bail it out, Phillies' fans wait for the Father Comcast funds to make a difference on the field. Except for changes in the TV  booth — arguably good or bad — we've seen little change from Father's money.

Folks not in the know lean toward blaming poor teachers on the school district's problems. But it's  not the teachers that are problems. The problems are at home, where parents don't have control, and therefore, do not insist that their kids get an education. 

Improvements in the schools begin at home.
     
You want to make changes against so called police abuse? Instead of "hands up don't shoot," how about "open the book, do your homework, and don't skip school, or I'll whoop yo' ass."


And respect the teachers.

For the Phillies, the problems aren't the current players, the problems result in a minor league system, where good players were traded away for all-stars. The only way the Phillies can improve — that is, after they dump salary — is to rely on the farm.

Truancy is a major problem in city schools, too. Too many kids skip out. The school police try to track them down, but the problem is so widespread, the school police can't keep up. 
   
Fifty percent of the kids in inner city Philly schools quit before graduation and that drop out rate is directly tied to truancy and poor parenting.

Fifty percent of the seats in Citizens Bank Park are empty during games. The fans are truant. Like truancy in schools is a direct link to parenting, empty seats are a direct link to a bad team and a depleted minor league system. 
     
As the team continues to lose, fan truancy gets worst!

Not all Philly schools are bad. There are good schools, like Central, Masterman, and Laboratory Charter Schools, and many more. But the under performing schools get the  the attention because they are in the lowest income sections of the school district.

Likewise, there are bright spots on the Phillies: Obubel Herrara, Cody Asche, Darin Ruf, Ken Giles and others, including some in the minors.

But like the school district, the Phillies have deep rooted problems that can't be fixed for years.

And like parents, fans are getting impatient!

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