Mayor Bracey: Something has to give with Pa.'s urban public schools, York Daily Record

May 10, 2012

"I am a proud graduate of William Penn Senior High School, a school with a rich, proud history. In my first term as mayor, I have been enriched, touched, and inspired by visiting every school in our city school district and meeting hundreds of children, youth, teachers and administrators. Seeing our students' bright, expressive faces, and listening to their hopes, fears, and dreams can turn even a stone heart into believing that each child is worth defending and championing.

Last year, we pledged to forge a William Penn Compact so our city government and school district work in tandem. Although city government is completely legally and financially separate from the city school district, our city has a vested interest in the success of the school district, and vice versa.

As part of that compact, city school Supt. Deborah Wortham now has cabinet level access to our administration. We are pleased that Dr. Wortham, a consummate professional, meets with our directors and me on a regular basis.

Also as part of the compact, we launched our MENTORYork, which teams professionals with at-risk 9th-graders to provide consistent guidance in an effort to reduce truancy and to improve the city school district's 70 percent graduation rate. Seven professionals from Metro York have been paired with seven 9th-graders for this school year, and six additional mentors are awaiting participating mentees.

Truth be told, city government-city school district collaboration is important, but it can go only so far. As a city and a city school district, both creatures of our state government, we confront systemic challenges and legal constraints that threaten our futures."  For the rest of Mayor Bracey's article, please click here