Good Economist shines a spotlight on Helen Gym's policy views - Generocity Philly

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Oct. 5, 2016 11:22 am

Good Economist shines a spotlight on Helen Gym’s policy views

SBN's latest issue of "Good Economist" takes on holistic policymaking and the business community's involvement in education reform.

Helen Gym circa 2012.

(Photo via Flickr user Alex Hogan, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Philadelphia School District gets a bum rap.

Philadelphia schools have been plagued by very real horror stories that have perpetuated a negative narrative about the state of local education. The result, says Sustainable Business Network magazine Good Economist, has been a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that’s getting harder and harder to shake.

“Stories of hopelessness are hopeless,” said Councilwoman Helen Gym, whose education policy views were highlighted by network as a platform to urge holistic policymaking. “The best it can inspire is a charitable endeavor but not transformational change.”

That change, said the former community organizer, will not take place in politics. There needs to be a push from the private sector.

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That means business leaders and entrepreneurs will need to back the education system instead of taking a hands-off approach, the latter which Gym said leads to parents “leaving the city when their children reach school age.”

What can that hands-on approach to supporting education look like in the business community? For some businesses like eCommerce startup RevZilla, it’s an intimate corporate social responsibility program. For others, it’s in-school or after-school programming.

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Or maybe it just means accommodating a local workforce that has not been given an opportunity to pick up 21st century skills — but is that really viable?

“The business demographics are rapidly diversifying,” said Gym. “You are going to have to train your own employees.”

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