Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FWCS board reduces waste

The board of We Are Your Schools (the WAYS) announced last night that the five minutes allotted to members of the public to address the board at the end of their meeting would be reduced to three minutes. That's a two minute reduction in waste of breath telling them what they don't want to hear.

Personal attacks on board members are no longer allowed. Since public animosity toward the board is usually a given, expressing it in a public meeting is unnecessary and a waste of time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Tech at Wayne, how's that going?

One of the segments of "High School Reinvent" was the establishment of a high tech career school at Wayne. Operating with project based learning and separated physically from the rest of the building at a cost of $2million, the school was initially started with about 100 students, with the intention of expanding it to several hundred based on demand.

The district reportedly is having trouble even keeping the enrollment at 100. The word is that it's too challenging, too hard. There are no prerequisites for enrolling, so presumably they're getting the same 50% of the overall population that's coming into all FWCS high schools unprepared. So if they want to keep the failing kids coming they're going to have to dumb it down.

These graduates would theoretically be prepared for the kind of jobs that business leaders tell us they can't find qualified applicants for. New Tech was probably worth a shot on this scale to see how it pans out but the problem in this district goes down to the lower levels, especially the middle schools so the approach has to change. New Tech implies competency in literacy and math, which half of FWCS students don't have.

Let's see if Steve Corona comes up with another $35 million proposal for a high tech career center for kids who can't do math. If we build it will they come?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Who cares about local control of schools?

Today we were treated two articles in the Perspective section of the JG lamenting the loss of local control of public schools. And who exactly is upset about losing local control? Why the "locals" who are currently in control and don't want to lose it of course. In the first article Diana Showalter, superintendent of North Manchester Schools, is quoted as saying "when we can't control our own destiny through the collection of property taxes, we are setting ourselves up for a difficult time". In other words, "When we lost the power to tax people out of their homes to preserve the jobs, salaries and benefits of our unionized teachers, we put them in the same boat as the taxpayers who have to adapt to economic reality." Well, amen to that, Diana!

The other article deals with FWCS efforts to keep the state from taking over North Side and South Side High Schools next year and nine other schools after that. Here we're told that although many districts were caught by surprise by the state's vigorous implementation of PL221 sanctions, FWCS already knew they were falling behind and work was already under way to improve these schools. Actually the state showed up unannounced and unexpected at every targeted school in the state including those in FWCS. NSHS and SSHS are failing all right but Wendy, FWEA and the board didn't want to hear it and blew off PL221 (and NCLB) until the Cambridge group was knocking on the door. They were having too much fun telling us how hard they were working and closing board meetings singing Kumbaya. Does anyone believe they would be going through this current excercise of musical chairs with administrators and teachers if the state didn't have a gun to their heads?

Then at the end Wendy lamented thay they couldn't think outside of the box when they were boxed in by the state. A unionized, urban school district that thinks outside the box? Please, we weren't all socially promoted.

The only people who care about all this are the ones who sit through those useless board meetings because nobody who doesn't work for the district bothers to attend them. So bring it on Dr. Bennett. You can't do any worse than the "locals".