Carol Heinsdorf SRC testimony – April 21, 2016

Carol Heinsdorg SRC testimony pic 4-21-16

SRC, Dr. Hite,

I am Carol Heinsdorf.

The loud and defensive statement, “You’re not from my neighborhood,” and aggressive question, “What’s your zip code?” are flung out at testifiers. These statements are detrimental to the future of our students.

Is Philadelphia to be a world class city, where our children have a broad education, exposure to many cultures and to people who don’t look, behave or speak as they do? Or are our children to be educated in provincial neighborhoods, where everyone looks, talks, and experiences the exact same things, as if this myopic view is desirable?

The implication that adults from different zip codes can’t know a neighborhood’s children is simply false. Ask Piaget, or any PA certified teacher or anyone in our great city who has studied child development. Yes, many people know what’s best for your child in school. Maybe the protestors truly are unaware of that.

I recently paid my Philadelphia School Tax, because my zip code starts with 191. If anyone wants to refuse to accept my school tax money because the last two zip code digits are not to their liking, just let me know before I leave. How about vetting the zip codes of the SRC members, Mastery charter administrators and the Philadelphia School Partnership board members? Finding these could be an interesting search. What are the chances that all of those zip codes would even start with 191?

When my husband had an emergency admission to Pennsylvania Hospital, the orderly who took him upstairs was one of his former elementary school Asian ESOL students, who was thousands of miles away from his zip code of origin. The ethnic Ukrainian nursing assistant at my husband’s bedside was a former high school German student, also thousands of miles away from her zip code of origin. In the same way, my husband and I have been helped by library clerks, security guards, pharmacy cashiers, and restaurant wait persons, all former students, and all of us out of our zip codes of origin. Zip codes have nothing to do with the success of these ambitious young people who are attending college, and starting families and careers, but their public education in diverse Philadelphia did.

Just as parents may be expected to supervise their children’s choices from the school library, they are free to choose their child’s school. However, parents should not determine the choices for other parents’ children’s books to read, or the school that other parents’ children should attend.

Our communal goal should not be to hold back our students from the best that they can be, no matter what zip code they live in now, and no matter what zip code they end up in.

Our students are the hope and future not of provincial neighborhoods, but of the whole of Philadelphia as a world class city.