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.
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.)