Monday, March 30, 2009

Closing Schools Neighborhood Schools is Not the Answer

My column in the Dallas Morning News this month is about a bill in the Texas State legislature which would provide an alternative to closing low performing schools.

It reads in part:

"The Austin group Save Texas Schools says that closing low-performing schools, which are almost exclusively in poor neighborhoods, is an unproductive strategy. This coalition of parents, students, teachers and community leaders is standing together to improve schools, instead of closing buildings. Among the group's work is urging support for HB 1238, which provides effective alternatives to school closure or "reconstitution."

This is a very real issue in Dallas, where 10 schools have finished two or more years rated academically unacceptable. Most immediately, Spruce and Samuell high schools could be closed if too many students fail the TAKS test this spring."

You can read the rest of it here. It is critical that we deal in more imaginative and constructive ways to make public education more effective - not just in Texas, but across the nation.


Anonymous said...

Hey Rev,
I read your editorial, and my response is it will never happen... that is your vague suggestion
"Turning around failing schools requires dramatic intervention, creativity and the engagement of parents and community institutions – and, yes, they should already be engaged. .."
Singing Kumbaya will not help. the scenario you paint is an Alice in Wonderland rerun.

The best bet for underachieving and unmotivated students is to place them in an environment where they are motivated.

Your noble neighborhood concerns are irrelevant to the education issue.

Gerald Britt said...

Anonymous 7:36,

If I've never seen schools turned around and if There were no successful schools in the rest of the country I'd concede your point. But I have, there are, so I don't.

It's interesting that people seem ready to blame students, parents and teachers - but let completely off the hook administrators, politicians and corporate interests (the developers of the 'testocracy' in which our schools are mired, and who make HUGE dollars selling these standardized tests). Public school dysfunction is the result of a great deal of systemic failure.