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Monday, December 01, 2008

The Times Weighs In (With One Correction)

The Times had this editorial on school closures today. Earlier, a couple of the commenters (myself included) called them out because they had called APP, "the Advanced Placement Program". This, of course, is wrong; it's the Accelerated Progress Program (I've begged the district to change the name because of this on-going confusion but no deal.) Mysteriously, it got corrected on-line and I'll be looking for that under "corrections" tomorroow because you can't write one thing and then just change it without saying something (whether it was a "whoops" or not).

From the editorial about the benefits of closure:

"More resources pay for librarians, a teaching corps large enough to offer instructional styles and enrichment classes such as music, foreign language and art."

Sigh, if only that were true. Does anyone believe that these closures will make the remaining schools better? No, it's just to stop up the budget drain.

They list their thoughts on some of the closures/consolidations:

"The center's immigrant students could benefit from NOVA's English-speaking population and NOVA's students could interact with students from all over the world."

Well, true and there are probably no more accepting students than Nova's. Only problem is that many immigrant families tend to be fairly conservative and I hope the parents of the Secondary BOC students are just as accepting. It could be quite the culture shock for many Secondary BOC students and their parents.

Lastly:

"If buildings with too few students to pay for themselves were the criteria for closures, this school (RBHS)would have been shuttered. Instead, it will receive an infusion of students from Summit, a kindergarten through 12th-grade school."

All of Summit is not going to move so I'm not sure how much of an "infusion" it will be and as to the idea that somehow a lot of people from the south end will suddenly embrace Summit seems unlikely. (This is only because there is going to be the new program at AAA, there's New School, there's Dunlap, there's Rainier Beach - that's a lot of choice in a just over 1 mile area. Plus Orca isn't all that far away either.)

Is the rationale to move Summit really to save Rainier Beach? Could be. The district may believe that RBHS needs more time and Summit moving in gives them time. Of course, Summit may, in its best interests and to not watch their program wither away, may decline the move and ask to be closed. What then?

The district and Dr. Goodloe-Johnson don't seem even vaguely interested in saving Summit - they put them on the chopping block every time over the last 3 closures (starting in April 2005). Dr. Goodloe-Johnson did say at the work session, rather stiffly when she was challenged about this move, that the Board asked staff to put Summit someplace and they did. Oh.

5 comments:

Mimi56 said...

Melissa,
I sent the correction in an email after seeing it in the paper copy.we'll see if itis corrected by tomorrow.You would think that editorial writers would get details like that right. It is an important detail and leads me to think that the entire editorial was composed by someone who knows little about SPS. Hawthorne was also misspelled, but it's possible that it was a typo.

Rather than looking at the proposal with a critical eye. It sure seemed to be cheer lead and accepted the district's so-called cost savings at face value. The editor said, "Just do it."

Never mind what happens to the neighborhood program at Arbor Heights and the costs of relocating its 300+ students, move Summit without questioning the cost of transportation, making assumptions about the Nova/SBOC co-house,split APP without understanding the co-housing history of that program. And this is all being done while a new student assignment plan is in the works which is bound to cause more disruptions. I do get that schools may need to be closed, but geesh,so much for stability and predictability.

hschinske said...

They had to correct it twice -- the first correction said "Advance Progress Program"!

Helen Schinske

Mimi56 said...

It was corrected at the bottom of today's editorial page. It figures that a previous correction had to be corrected.

North End Mom said...

I've also heard it called "Advanced Placement Program" on TV (KOMO??) recently, by reporters during closure coverage.

SandyH said...

Just a correction, Melissa - Meany is not a SE school. It is a central district school.

SandyH