EDUCATION

Allentown Promise

A cradle to college/career commitment from the City and the School District that every student will have a pathway to graduate and either continue education or enter the workforce. Partner employers will have the opportunity to train and prepare youth in Allentown for future employment by providing internships and summer employment opportunities. Large corporations in tax subsidized zones must participate.

Community Schools

Connect our schools, families, and the surrounding community.  Education should extend beyond the classroom and focus on youth development, family support, health and social services, and community development, enrichment opportunities, mental health services, family support and engagement, early childhood and adult education. Redevelopment efforts should be focused in neighborhoods around schools.

Collaboration

The strength of our city depends on the success of our schools. We must create a shared vision and measurable objectives. The City should take the lead in aligning school and city resources in order to produce successful students, strong families, and engaged communities. Student readiness, attendance, performance, and completion rates are impacted by adverse circumstances such as missed rent, utility shutoffs, inadequate access to health care, unstable child care arrangements, and food insecurity-these are issues that the City must address. Strong, sustainable communities lead to strong, successful schools.

The Mayor must lead the effort to develop a shared vision, policies and resource alignment. The Mayor must bring together government agencies, businesses, philanthropic community, unions, ASD, higher education, nonprofits, families, students, staff, residents and faith-based agencies. It’s the city’s job to capitalize on the financial assets of City partners and funding streams to support programs and activities aligned with their common vision.

Shared ownership – although we are two different entities, the city has a responsibility to work with the school district.

Digital Divide

The Allentown School District has a high population of students with special needs, refugee students, English language learners and homeless students. Not every home is conducive to learning. The City needs to work with the school district to provide adult education so that families are better able to navigate the virtual in-home learning. We need to work with organizations to help them open community space to conduct small group in person instruction for our most vulnerable populations.

The Mayor needs to negotiate with large internet suppliers to increase coverage and explore initiating municipal-owned broadband internet as a public utility, similar to how we invest in safe roadways much like cities and their residents invest in reliable electricity and safe roadways. Everyone benefits through increased opportunity, engagement and digital literacy.