Monday, March 23, 2009

Schools dig into stimulus arithmetic

Don't let that cat out of the bag.
Schools dig into stimulus arithmetic For those who are hoping the closed Schenley High School building will be renovated, Mr. Roosevelt said, 'There's not monies sufficient to bring a project of that magnitude to the table, nor is it consistent with the very clear Obama administration edict that the money be used primarily on student gains.'
Do students gain when they have extra time on a bus?

Do students gain when those in 6th grade are put with those in 9th, 10, 11th and 12th?

Do students gain when $5-Million of additional money is to be spent in the summer of 2009 to fix up a school that will be given to a bulldozer in less than four years?

Do students gain when massive buildings sit empty?

I say that students gain when prudent investments of the past are continually realized into the future.

I say students gain when they can study and learn in a learning community, such is Oakland. Today, some will be walking to a play for a Spanish class field trip to the Oakland-based Cathedral. The topic of the play is an idealistic gent who took on some major opponents -- quixotic even.

I say high school reform is needed and must be in the back seat as we speed into a future with community participation with our schools.

The magnitude of fixing some plaster at Schenley High School has never been put onto the table in a fair, open and honest way. We don't need to fix the pipe organ. We don't need a lavish food court in the school. And the alternative costs are not put into the formula either. The magnitude is the uncertainty and doubt -- not a building with interior walls and ceilings that match what is found in some other schools.

Mr. Roosevelt expects the school system's innovations will prove effective.
Prove that the past innovations have proven as much.

What about the Gifted Center innovations that have not come to pass?

What about K-8 schools?

What model of 6-12 grade schools has proven to work -- ever -- anywhere?

What about the ALAs? Why the flop? Why the uncertainty?

What about starting of school in mid August -- when we don't even know how many showed up for school on those days nor how hot the buildings were?

How are the kids doing in Duquesne's district? PPS has had a hand in that leadership innovation. Summary reports are where?

How are the Vo Tech kids doing in schools now -- since the closing of South Vo Tech? Where is the proven effect document with peer review, naturally.

The closing of some 20 school buildings in the past has made an impact. The Rightsizing innovation has saved money yet put dark holes into many communities. Where and how and when do we get to look at the effect of those empty buildings to places such as Knoxville and Hazelwood (with the still closed Gladstone Middle School)?

Here is a final question in our search for proof: What maget programs are effective? Why? How?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The reference to an Obama edict about using stimulus funds "primarily for student gains" is very strange- as if we could go out and purchase x amount of gains for a particular price. It doesn't sound like something Obama or his team would say.

The Obama administration has set forth a whole range of initiatives for stimulus spending and has shown particularly strong support for school renovation and long term investment. Invest in a building and you know it will be there for future generations. The same cannot be said for many of the programs Mark mentioned.