Germantown was recently the host of two days’ worth of events that revolved around the theme of education. The symposium, titled “Equally Entitled to Freedom: Benezet Now, Benezet Then” focused on the works of Anthony Benezet, an abolitionist and educator.
The conference featured many lectures and other activities that sought to connect Benezet’s teachings and beliefs to the issues affecting the Philadelphia School District in the present day.
The last event of the symposium was a roundtable discussion entitled “Benezet and Public Education in Philadelphia Then and Now” held at the Germantown Friends School. Its five featured panelists were Fasaha M. Traylor, the former program officer at the William Penn Foundation, Marjorie Neff, the current principal at Julia R. Masterman, Melvin Garrison, curriculum specialist at the School District of Philadelphia and John C. Van Horne from the Library Company of Philadelphia.
The gathering was well-attended, with members of the audience applauding some of the points made by the speakers and offering comments of their own. Topics ranged from responsibility for the school district’s situation to how students can remain interested in education.
“There’s nothing wrong with a community being involved in a school in its neighborhood,” said Garrison.
Near the panel’s end, it was mentioned that there are talks about making this two day event an annual seminar.
“We, as a nation, are responsible for the education of all of our children,” said Neff.