Pittsburgh Schools Losing Students Because of Violence

No one should be surprised by this morning’s Tribune Review report on the role violence in Pittsburgh schools is playing in driving kids out of district schools. It is completely rational to assume that caring parents will not allow their children to be placed in a physically unsafe environment. And certainly not one that arises out of thuggery and contempt for normal rules of behavior.

But the truly sad part of this story is the fact that the violence has been around for a number of years and apparently is getting worse. So the question is, who is to blame? The school district spokespersons and its die hard defenders will put the blame on parents of the misbehaving students. They will blame societal pressures, television programs, music, and so and so on. No doubt some of that is true. But it is also true that the decades of lax enforcement of disciplinary codes and tolerance of disgracefully poor academic performance-stemming largely from the influence of political correctness and political pressures brought by the community-have contributed to societal dysfunction by lowering standards of acceptable behavior and eroding the notion of personal responsibility for one’s actions.

It is all of a piece: Compulsory education combined with excusitis from the school board and the community, the know-it-all, nothing-to-see-here education establishment, do-gooder groups and too much taxpayer money and too little accountability to taxpayers and students who want to learn.

And do all the District’s failures lead to Board proposals for massive reform, including scholarships for students who want to escape the unsafe, academically deficient City schools? The answer for the decades covering the slide of Pittsburgh schools is a resounding NO. Just give us a little more time they say. Pathetic.