W ITH SCHOOLS letting out and the weather heating up, Friday marks the unofficial start of summer in Philadelphia. While summer marks the beginning of many great things, it's also a time when our city's youth have a lot of free time on their hands. One of the consequences is an annual rise in crime and violence. Although common in most cities, it's particularly true in Philadelphia, where far too many of our children become vulnerable to negative forces during breaks from school. For this reason, it's extremely important that we use the summer to start mentoring our youth.
LAST WEEK, the Philadelphia School District announced plans to completely overhaul itself and close more than 40 public schools next year. By closing the schools, for what it describes as considerable financial, academic, and safety concerns, the district claims that it will be able to restructure in ways that are more effective and efficient. While not surprising, given our city’s consistent bungling of education reform over the past two decades, this move was nonetheless disturbing for many reasons.
Marc Lamont Hill is Associate Professor of Education at Columbia University and host of Our World With Black Enterprise, which airs Sundays at 6 a.m. on TV-One. He is an editor-at-large for the Daily News and his column will appear every other week.