Thursday, July 10, 2008

Schenley and the rest of the district, too --

Still here! After a little time for a summer break and breather, there's more afoot. The stream of letters to the editor being published in the Post-Gazette seems to indicate that we're not the only people ready to keep going.

All along it's been clear that there's a lot more to HS reform than just closing Schenley under the (fake) cloud of a "$70+M asbestos problem." We're still working on getting accurate information out there to counteract the misleading (or plain wrong) impression that's been left.

But, it's also been clear all along that there are many other changes which were effectively hidden by the Schenley news and they will affect each and every family in the PPS.

Issues like:

* the move to several 6-12 grade themed magnet schools (there will be three beginning in the fall of '09)

* a move to a district wide lottery system for all schools (with changes to feeder patterns and no guarantee of a specific neighborhood HS)

* a lack of clarity on what the district will look like in 5 to 10 years -- for instance, which comprehensive high schools will be left and who will attend them?

* a lack of discussion about the effect of more and smaller schools on competitive team sports, electives and extracurricular options?

No matter what your opinions are on these and other changes proposed -- the thing we've learned is that by the time parents and community members are asked for input, it's too late for plans to change.

So -- are you ready to get the word out there? We really need to let friends, neighbors, children's classmates, co-workers, etc. know that these changes are coming and that the time to be heard is NOW. We're considering a petition drive and/or having letters to sign and mail in to the BOE and other grassroots ways to get people to talk to 10, 20, 100 people they know and make them aware of the changes that are coming and the vital need to start speaking up now, while we might still have a chance to have a voice in these reforms.

If you wish to be removed from this list, let me know. If you're willing to spend an hour or a weekend or whatever time you can give to start getting the word out, let me know that too. Ideas for how best to find and talk to people? Send them my way. And, let's keep the letters to the editor going too -- mark a time on your calendar and commit to sending in a letter. Send me a copy or let me know, if you'd like, it would be interesting to see our ratio of sent letters to printed letters.

Thank you --
Jen Lakin

No comments: