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Old 11-12-2007, 03:16 PM
Location: seattle, wa
6 posts, read 24,946 times
Reputation: 12


i am originally from buffalo NY, spent a little time living in boston, lived in rochester NY for 5 years, and recently moved to seattle, wa. however, this city seems sterile and lacking racial, economic and social diversity in comparison to east coast cities, which is one of the reasons i'm moving back. philadelphia was [and still is, usually] my first choice for relocation. i have a few aquaintances who have been living there for a couple years and they said the crime was mostly isolated. if you know anything about rochester or buffalo, you'll know the crime rates there are unfavorable, too, so philly's crime rate didn't frighten me.

then i started reading all these posts about people being robbed at gunpoint, mugged, beat-up, cars being stolen... all in the 'nicer' neighborhood areas and even downtown... how often does this actually happen? because i know crime drifts out of the bad areas sometimes, it did in rochester, i witnessed two robberies yards away from me [one involving a gun] but only TWO in 5 years, my boyfriends computer was stolen from inside his home, another fiends house was broken into twice in one day, still, i was never actually frightened of living in rochester, nor did i hate it because of the crime problems... does it actually happen in philly a lot like many of you say?

also, i am an art teacher, and prefer teaching in city schools rather than suburbia, so i'll likely be teaching in a not-so-nice area, should i be concerned? i just wonder if philly is really as awful as many of you say, or if the people who actually do like philadelphia don't feel like spending hours on this website writing posts and are rather out enjoying the city they live in...? i'm terribly confused and i'd like some advice from clear-headed, unbiased individuals who live in philly, why you like it, or why you don't.

i'm tired of perfect, crime-free, mostly white upper-class seattle, and i WAS really excited for philly. now i am not so sure [regardless, im moving SOMEHWERE on the east coast this coming january.]
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:03 PM
Location: .N6 A4
3,653 posts, read 4,623,558 times
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I strongly feel this would not be a good place to teach. The frequency of assaults on teachers is pretty frightening, and short of outright assaults, there would be a lot of chaos to deal with in many schools. Of course, there are exceptional schools where things would be fine, but I don't know how easy it is to get into them as a teacher. (The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a high-profile series of article on violence in the schools within the last year or two.)

The core "safe" areas are still pretty safe, but things get riskier very quickly along the edges of those safe areas. It seems as though things are getting worse, but I'm not sure statistics would confirm that.

Still, it's very possible to find a safer corner of Philadelphia, avoid the rougher parts, and maybe selectively ventuer into borderline neighborhoods with one's wits about one. It's not as though I walk around in terror at all times, not even close to it, but I mostly stay in the Center City area and have lived here a while, so I have a fairly developed sense of where I'm comfortable going (and when) and where I'm not comfortable going.

So, I guess that's a qualified: Yes, things are that bad--but it's still possible (for now) to make a life here with a low risk of coming face-to-face with violent crime. Also, I do think our new mayor, Michael Nutter will improve things somewhat (once he takes office), but it remains to be seen how his ideas will actually play out.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:25 PM
Location: seattle, wa
6 posts, read 24,946 times
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i understand its not the greatest place to teach, but some form of change must be made. i consider myself a very good teacher... and city schools [esp philly] seem to be in dire need of good teachers, bu good teachers only want to teach in the suburbs. somebody [and not just a crappy teacher who cant find work anywhere else] has to be be brave enough to try and make a difference. this is another reason i was interested in philly.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:47 PM
Location: PA
13 posts, read 55,221 times
Reputation: 35
I think it depends on where you live. I grew up in Philly and lived there for 22 years. When I was living in the far northeast area, I never saw any crime. There were non violent crimes, but I don't remember hearing about murders, and rape. I pretty much always felt safe.
I lived in southwest Philly for about 2 years, and I hated it. There was a lot more crime there, and the type of people who lived there were just rude and ignorant.

I've never lived in center city or other parts of Philly. When I was in school, I would either drive which took about 20-30 minutes, or I would park in those park and rides, and take the train downtown. When I went out with my friends, I would drive.

I live right outside Philly in Delaware County now, and I love it. I live pretty close to highway, so I can drive to center city in about 15-20 minutes, but it is a really safe area.

I think it really depends on whether you want to live right in the city, or if you are willing to live in a better area, but have a little bit of travel time.

It terms of diversity, there is probably more in the city near the colleges.
Northeast Philly was mainly white middle class, Southwest lower income whites and blacks. In the better parts of center city, you'll obviously find more affluent people.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:54 PM
Location: .N6 A4
3,653 posts, read 4,623,558 times
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If you are willing to risk dealing with the challenges of teaching here, there's certainly a need for good teachers. It's true that the situation will be hopeless if no qualified teachers rise to the challenge, but it's not the type of assignment I can imagine volunteering for any more (not that I'm a teacher). I'm a lot less idealistic, that way, as I get older.

There probably are some okay schools in between the handful of magnet schools everyone mentions as particularly good (like Masterman) and the most extremely troubled schools. Maybe the charter schools have better discipline too? I would imagine so.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:12 PM
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
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Originally Posted by misskatrine View Post

i'm tired of perfect, crime-free, mostly white upper-class seattle]

If you plan on teaching in Philadlephia public schools you wont have that problem^ any longer. It will be a drastic change from Seattle and it will be a challenge.

Its a great diverse city with lots of fun stuff to do, great restaurants,museums,universities, recreational areas to jog/bike/roller blade. But I would suggest doing some research if you plan on working in the Philadlephia public school system. Its not for the faint of heart.
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:23 PM
Location: Toronto
349 posts, read 896,499 times
Reputation: 943
I think you will love Philly. I moved here just over two years ago, and I find it a very exciting city with great restaurants, wonderful cultural opportunities, and of course, a palpable sense of history. Certainly, all of us who live here are concerned with the level of violence that affects many of its citizens. However, living in Center City, I have never felt unsafe.

I commend you for your dedication and mission. As a volunteer at an institution that frequently attracts school groups, I often see classes led by strong teachers. Unlike the stereotype, the kids are well-behaved, intellectually curious, and respectful. I know from this limited experience, that the situation is not hopeless, that good teachers can make a difference, and I encourage you bring your talents to our city. Both you and Philadelphia will benefit.
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:06 PM
Location: seattle, wa
6 posts, read 24,946 times
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thanks bookmen, i am still considering philly, and plan to visit this january. as far as the city teaching goes, i know it's not for the faint of heart. i taught in the city of rochester last year, which is no peaceful place, and it was quite a challenge, but thats what made it meaningful and worthwhile for me. i've never taught in seattle, but i'm sure it's a lot different than most city districts.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:46 AM
Location: seattle, wa
6 posts, read 24,946 times
Reputation: 12
i also want to note: i won't be able to afford to live in center city, so i've been looking into nearby neighborhoods, primarily fishtown and fairmount. i have aquaintances in both neighborhoods. i also want to note, out of sheer boredom [being home sick today from work lead me to the discovery of this forum], i looked up actual crime rankings and statistics for 2006 [as documented by the FBI]. philadelphia placed 10th [on a list for cities with 250K+ population], with a murder rate of 27 [per 100K], and my hometown of buffalo ny, placed right after philly in 11th place, with a murder rate of 26.3. the city i lived in for the last 5 years, rochester NY, placed 10th on the list for cities with populations with a murder rate of 23.4. philly didn't even make the top 25 list of america's most dangerous cities for 2007 [as documented by morgan quitno, including all cities, regardless of population]. i'm not trying to say philly is an easy place to live, but i'm beginning to wonder if this site offers me truly unbiased, non-exaggerated advice. the people i know who live there love it, but i guess i wanted to hear from a few others, too.

i ran like hell to my car in rochester when two teenage boys pulled a gun on a group of girls outside a bar in rochester [the only reason they didn't go after me was because i don't carry a purse], but i still wouldn't bash the hell out of rochester for it, nor would i warn people from living there. you just have to be alert and street-smart. and that wasn't the only crime i witnessed or experienced in my 5 years living there. the schools in rochester are rated among the worst in the nation and two high schools were shut down because they were so unsafe. what cities in trouble need are more hopeful citizens moving in... i enjoyed that city but i left because it was time for me to move on and try new out new cities. i may eventually return to rochester once i'm done exploring.

i don't know if this changes things but i'm not exactly used to living in the most glamorous of cities, as seen in statistics and experiences posted above, and have dealt with crime issues in the past. some cities seem to be in a midst of unstoppable decay and disrepair, but when i see philly i suppose i still see a possibility for change, i wouldn't consider moving there if it seemed utterly hopeless. i suppose i'm only speaking from a few short visits, but i still see hope for a lot of cities that are struggling...all they need are more good, positive, strong and open-minded people. that's all i have to share, i suppose. and after reading various threads on this site i'm not sure i'll ever look to forums for city advice again. thanks to those who gave me solid information on philly.
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:40 AM
8,048 posts, read 18,469,927 times
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I admire you misskatrine for wanting to take on the challenge that is the Philadelphia School District. My mother taught there for over three decades before retiring a few years ago. She felt she made a difference at a school that, while not a "magnet", was once considered one of the better institutions in the city. Sadly, she felt that the emotional and physical infrastructure of the place was starting to fray as she neared her departure.

All of that said, it sounds like you come fairly well-equipped to deal with the realities of urban living let alone urban schools. If you do your homework (no pun intended ), I'm sure you can find a school with enough support and/or inspiration to make it worth your while.

Fairmount and Fishtown are fine neighborhoods on the edge of downtown. The latter may be slightly "fringier" due to its ongoing gentrification from a working-class neighborhood but it probably won't intimidate the likes of you.

In fact, I would suggest looking into University City, across the river from Center City (downtown). It's an intriguing mix of people from all walks of life. Once you get west of 45th Street, you'll avoid the rowdiest of the students from nearby Penn and Drexel. Things could get even more interesting west of 50th Street but not necessarily in a positive way. If you like exotic cuisine, particularly African fare, then you'll enjoy the restaurants on Baltimore Avenue, a major thoroughfare that winds it way through the rest of West Philly to University City towards downtown. Between the two light rail trolleys and two bus lines going through the neighborhood, you're never more than about 15-20 minutes from downtown. I'd strongly suggest you check UC out!

Philly isn't a downtown oasis in a sea with urban despair. There are actually other decent, interesting and safe neighborhoods in the city. Depending on one's opinion and definition, most can admittedly be found towards the NW and NE ends of the city. If I'm guessing your tastes correctly, you might prefer the NW better (East Falls, Manayunk, West Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill) as the NE has a reputation of being a "concrete suburb".

Last edited by FindingZen; 11-13-2007 at 10:02 AM..
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