Monday, April 16, 2007

Duquesne School District -- target with Marty Griffin

The voice of Pittsburgh, news-radio KDKA, was giving some coverage to the educational mess that is known now as the Duquesne School District. This isn't Duquesne University -- but a river town down the Mon, Duquesne.

More than a year ago, as the outrage was in a boil about the 'right sizing plans' that closed two dozen schools, I gave comment to the Pgh Public Schools. I spoke about Duquesne's schools.

This is a regional issue. But it is a city issue too.

One lady in the audience, a resident in my city council district, wasn't impressed with my willingness to talk on behalf of the students at Duquesne. She was worried about Knoxville School's closing. I too worry about Knoxville -- it should be turned into a second CAPA Middle School. But, we need to have wider perspectives from time to time. We talked, 1-on-1, later that night. I was glad she shared her opinions with me.

But, I have gone out of my way to raise the bigger issues.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools plan to rightsize was WRONG in that it closed buildings in the eastern/south edge of the city. Hazelwood and building over in that edge of the city, nearest to Duquesne, need to be open, strong, and with available space to accept students from Duquesne.

The Pgh Board of Education, and Mark Roosevelt, did the wrong things. We need to evolve the district to that area because of the on-going tragedy there.

Now, the kids in Hazelwood don't have a school in their own neighborhood. So, they are going farther away. And, the schools that they are headed to, elsewhere in Pgh, are full past capacity. But, there was a good school in Hazelwood.

We should be looking to re-open Burgwin and the closed middle school in Hazelwood.

Pittsburgh is too small to have a pocket of dispair. The schools in Hazelwood pull all schools down.

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