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Scranton, PA

On this Labor Day The Pennsylvania Chronicle focuses on the students in Scranton.

Scranton Public Schools have no cash struggling under state oversight. Earlier this year the district took a hit from the Auditor General for mismanagement. Last week 16 teachers lost their jobs. Not having the exact figures we believe the district looked to save about $300,000 in this action.

And the Scranton Federation of Teachers plans punishment for the district and the students.  The union boss asks members to stop providing any services beyond what’s required in the expired contract.

How about recognizing reality? With some 700 teachers the union giving back less than $9 a week per staff member saves 16 people losing their jobs. Save the jobs, support those 16 teachers.

According to state test scores, 30% of students are at least proficient in math and 49% in reading.  As usual rather than pulling together to advance student performance the union acts up utterly out of touch with reality.

Oddly enough plenty of opportunity exists in the run down Scranton residential neighborhoods with low cost homes ready to renovate. Good people and good policing brought down the crime rates of the mid 2000’s making Scranton a safe town with a 1 in 40 chance of being a victim of crime. The city hosts an active night life with plenty to do in and near Lackawanna County’s largest city.

Scranton could be a great place for young families as the economy picks up.

Problem is no middle class person in their right mind moves to Scranton to raise a family. Many parents living the city with young children leave as they approach school age.

The district’s awful performance means no resident middle class. 82% of the student population is disadvantaged.

The answer for teachers comes from working with the district to bring true change. It means teachers working their tails off to bring up scores.. A decision to act out harming students while demeaning the greatest of the helping professions won’t draw the middle class to Scranton.

And the hard won improvements the city’s worked for are at risk with low performing schools.

It means one more nail in the coffin of the district and  teachers losing their jobs next year and in the years to come. Until the district and the union get serious about their shared responsibilities the district fails not only the students but every citizen in Scranton.