A Pennsylvania politician is catching deserved heat for saying that children from Philadelphia’s “inner city” public schools would do better in vocational careers rather than college because they are dropping out anyway. He says they would succeed in a less rigorous track.
Last month, Senate Education Committee chairman John Eichelberger reportedly said during a town hall meeting that he blames failing urban school systems for minority students dropping out of college. We’re “pushing [students] toward college, and they’re dropping out. They fall back and don’t succeed, whereas if there was a less intensive track, they would.”
Yet, according to the Carlisle Sentinel, Eichelberger also said state funding was being “misspent” on such students and that they should instead be encouraged to pursue vocational programs. Basically, he put onus on the students to pay for the failure of public schools, setting them up for a life that does not include higher education.
Democratic Sen. Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia said Eichelberger should be removed from the committee chairmanship, according to the Pittsburgh Courier. “Let’s be clear, this issue about the stereotyping of Black and Brown children needing less-intensive tracks to succeed has been around for generations, maybe even centuries,” he added.
Eichelberger, who is a Republican, responded by saying he was the “victim” of a fake news story. “Well, I have finally been the victim of a fake news story,” the statement reads. “The Carlisle Sentinel did a convoluted and incomplete story about my town hall meeting last week, the Democrats decided to spin it even further, and other liberal media outlets followed along.”
He added, Hughes “is calling me a racist because I spoke about the failing schools in Philadelphia, located in minority neighborhoods, not preparing their students for college. He’s trying to say that since the kids are Black, that I think they’re not capable of learning. Wrong. I see the potential of these children and want to see them succeed.”