The school closure saga continues, and it gets stranger every week. Two weeks ago, I liked the school board but was mad at the superintendent. Last week, I was mad at everybody: the school board was just letting the superindentent and her staff talk, without (largely) seriously questioning any aspect of the report and its proposals. (I’m biased, but trust me, there’s stuff in there worth questioning.)
But yesterday was just plain bizarre. First, it turns out that the school board will almost certainly have a few hundred thousand dollars available each year than they thought; at this point, I can see no financial reason for them to close a school next year, and there may not be any financial reason for them to close a school after that, either. At this point, it suddenly turns out that we’re supposed to believe that closing a school, instead of a necessary evil, is actively good! That Slater (the school my daughter attends) is a disaster and the presence of PACT (the special program she’s in) is hurting the neighborhood kids (largely poorer, with lots of English-language learners), but if PACT gets moved to Castro (another school attended by poor kids who are English-language learners), then all of a sudden PACT’s presence will be a huge blessing! That the school district is completely confident that it has suddenly found exactly the right teacher training program to cure all of Castro’s (long standing) woes, despite the fact that we have no actual experience with the program, and that in fact teachers were first exposed to it in a training session two days ago! That, despite the fact that PACT is nothing other than the reification of a particular educational philosophy, it must be the case that, if we disagree with switching over to this newfound gospel, it must be because we’re bigots! Oy.
Anyways, I’m more favorably inclined towards the Superintendent than I had been: I still think she’s pushing a harmful program, but she is doing a fair job of evaluating some of the possible evidence that speaks against the necessity of school closure. I’m quite impressed by two of the trustees (Rosemary Roquero and Fran Kruss, for you local readers), I get angrier every time one of the trustees says anything (Ellen Wheeler), and am disappointed but not giving up hope in the other two (Gloria Higgins, Fiona Walter). At least this soap opera should be over, for better or for worse, by next Wednesday: the discussion has suddenly gotten a lot more heated and serious.
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