Friday, June 06, 2008

Think again about high school reform

Why mess with two good things?

Mark Roosevelt is messing with the best high school in the city in terms of academic performance, CAPA. CAPA is a downtown high school. His plan is to put kids in grades 6, 7 and 8 downtown too -- with CAPA High School.

Worse, the kids that are going to be squeezed into CAPA come from Rodgers Middle School. Rodgers CAPA is presently a good middle school. Kids go there and learn. It does well in academic performance too. It is one of our best middle schools in the city. It is in Lincoln-Lemington -- and Mark Roosevelt wants to close the Rodgers Middle School -- moving it downtown.

Closing good schools and making radical changes to them is not only silly -- but perhaps -- a civil rights issue.

CAPA is doing well. Great. Expand it. Allow for additional high school kids to get into CAPA.

Replicate what works. Fix what is broken.

Rodgers is doing well too. Replicate it. Open a second performing arts middle school. Open up Rodgers South or Rodgers West.

The second performing arts school can compete with the existing one. Perhaps there will be more of a challenge to get into the downtown CAPA as the feeder pattern would demand that the middle school students excel to get into the next level.

And CAPA can expand into additional space. Expand it as a high school.

The high school theater space at Downtown's CAPA is nice. But it is in high demand now. It can't be duplicated and made to fit the middle school and high school too.

If the plan goes into effect, there is going to be a net loss of arts education. And, arts education is working.

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