Monday, June 02, 2008

Teacher. Wordsmith. Madman. on Schenley High School

Teacher. Wordsmith. Madman.: "Interesting op-ed piece in this morning's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, adding yet another round to the seemingly endless debate and discussion -- it's as if Mark Roosevelt replaced Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and we're the poor, perplexed Punxsutawneans -- over the fate of Schenley High. The central argument, that closing the school doesn't make sense until the district develops a comprehensive high school reform plan, is difficult to refute. A district with little money to spare, deciding the futures of both a landmark building and its four classes full of students, should not rush to judgment. And all of the district's plans, counter-plans, reversals of field, and reversals of reversals of field since this issue came to the fore do not exactly inspire much confidence in a steady, reasoned approach to finding a solution.

The over the top parts -- well -- here is the deal.

Schenley works. There are lots of other schools that fail. Four are drop-out factories.

Fix what is broken and replicate what works.

Roosevelt is breaking what works. Roosevelt is still in deep denial about doing anything for the failing schools.

Nothing has come, yet, about Vo Tech.

Nothing has come about Oliver, Peabody, Westinghouse nor Langley. ZIPPO.

Nothing has come about grass-roots involvement in the Pittsburgh Promise. The Exec Director of the Pgh Foundation called the Pittsburgh Promise nothing but a cruel joke if only 20% of the kids that go to college from Pittsburgh can stay there once they arrive. And, that is the right percentage.

So, I'm going overboard now.

Meanwhile, Roosevelt is still over-reaching.

Furthermore, Schenley High School is a place where students of all backgrounds, races, study skills and sporting abilities mix well. Friendships are forged there -- without a strata system like occurs at Alderdice. There are two bodies of students at many of our schools. We love how Schneley is a 'melting pot.' Meanwhile, that is being taken away from the city.

That makes us sad and will insure that another 5,000 people depart the city in the years to come.

When all the I.B. students go to I.B. High -- the melting pot is NUKED.

When the new (proposed) Science and Technology High School has no sports -- by design -- the melting pot is tossed into the trash. Another 4,000 depart the city.

We don't want melting pot of middle school kids downtown.

We don't want melting pot of kids in grades 6, and 7 with kids in grades 11 and 12.

We don't want what he is trying so hard to deliver.

We don't want a great majority of the school in the district in turf battle grounds.

The district can not afford to close schools that work. Period. Rodgers is being tinkered with. CAPA is being tinkered with. Same too with Frick Middle School, and Schenley, of course. The research is not there. They need to think again.

This is much greater than "most likely not afford to save the building." Jeepers.

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