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20 Failing East Bay Schools Face Dire Sanctions

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 at 2:13 pm in Uncategorized.

UPDATE: There’s good news for Mt. Diablo and Pinole high schools – not so good for a couple of middle schools though. In a last-minute revision of its failing schools list, the state removed both high schools from the list and replaced them with Concord’s Glenbrook Middle School and San Pablo’s Helms Middle School. Read the latest news on this topic here.

Mt Diablo High (Photo by Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group) Pinole Valley High, Mt. Diablo High (pictured), Oak Grove Middle School, and 17 other East Bay institutions are on the state’s list of failed schools and may be facing draconian penalties, including the firing of principals and staff, outright closure, or closure and then a re-opening as a charter school. “This is an opportunity to make dramatic changes at chronically underperforming schools,” says state schools chief Jack O’Connell.

Doubtless there is much wringing of hands at the 188 schools statewide that are affected, but here’s what I don’t get. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – these schools’ dismal test scores, the bar they had to reach, and the sanctions have been in the public eye for a decade. The only question to my mind, as a former education reporter who covered the Mt. Diablo school district, among others, was always whether the state would have the gumption to actually impose those sanctions. And frankly, they haven’t yet. They’re just threatening. It’s like those parents who give their kids till the count of 3 – “OK, 1, 2, 2 1/2 … I really mean it this time: 1, 2, 2 1/2, 2 3/4… We’ll try that again, 1, 2…” Hello?

Meanwhile out in Rhode Island, where half the students at Central Falls High were failing every subject, the school board just fired its entire school staff, including 74 teachers and the principal, after the teachers union refused to follow state-mandated restructuring plans that called for longer school days and tutoring. The union said they wanted to be paid for the extra work and that their students had made great strides in recent years.

I have my own thoughts about those arguments, but I’m considerably more interested in hearing yours. Click comments and share your thoughts, or punch a button on the poll… (P.S. Answers are in random order and you can select as many as you wish.)

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2 Responses to “20 Failing East Bay Schools Face Dire Sanctions”

  1. Marie Says:

    As an educator myself, I am shocked that no one is talking about the parents. Of course the schools and the teachers are failing because the kids that attend these schools have little or no parental involvement. Parents are childrens primary educators. Everything that is done in the classroom must be reinforced at home. From PreK to the collegiate level, if the expectation for academic success isn’t implied and followed through at home, children rarely succed. NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY IS THROWN AT THE SCHOOLS. Please don’t expect funding to change the situation.

  2. Crystal Says:

    I too am an educator. Often during parent teacher conference, parents request their student be moved next to a certain student or away from others. I always wonder why they don’t address the parents of those students they know have disrupted the education process for years. I am shocked they never hold the administration accountable and saddened when they blame the teacher. I don’t understand the blind eye to the social ills (from serious to annoying and unnecessary)that are counter-productive to the education process. I’ve visited tens of classrooms (close to 100) and the difference between success and failure is personal discipline in the students. And it comes from home.

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