This Sunday's column by Danny Westneat of the Times is spot on. He explains how he wasn't really going to talk about the special 3-person Spanish class set up for basketball star, Tony Wroten, and 2 others.
It was especially niccceeee because Garfield is the most jampacked, overcrowded high school in Seattle. I figured there wasn't much I could add about the sway sports holds in schools and society that wasn't summed up best by that one tweet.
But as he says, last week the class cuts started at Garfield.
"At Garfield, budget cuts are being translated to cuts in Advanced Placement courses and other classes, including the cancellation of AP Calculus BC, reductions in sections of AP Chemistry, and AP Spanish," read a bulletin from a parents' group. (italics his)
Translation: After finding the wherewithal to gin up a three-person Spanish class so the star player can remain eligible to play ball in college, the school now is cutting back on the Spanish classes needed for scores of kids to do academics in college.
So how did Ted Howard, the principal at Garfield, explain the special Spanish class?
The Garfield principal's defense was he created the special Spanish class because he "felt we owed those kids and parents credit and also an education."
I'm sorry. Did Tony and his friends not have the opportunity to take a regular Spanish class? Yes. So why the "special" class? Is this kind of owed help available to every single student in the school who manages to fail a class? (I'm sure UW will continue this treatment when Tony gets there as well.)
As Danny says, one other thing got missed:
Speaking of stars, did you see the other news about Garfield? It barely made a blip. It was just announced Garfield had more National Merit scholarship winners than any other public high school in the state.
I've met Mr. Howard and he's a good guy and it's a big school. But this is unacceptable. What is the district's response to this?
And yet they fired Martin Floe but Ted Howard is still sitting in his $120M school. (The irony here is that Martin Floe, in yet another heroic effort, has been through BTA/BEX fix after fix. He had to wait out neighbors on the decision about whether to cut a grove of trees for a new addition. And yet, Ingraham will never get the rebuilt that nearly every other high school received because of all the "fixes" done over the years. It's a strange thing.)