On the August "Start a new post" Annette Werner wrote:
Here is my testimony from today's public hearing.
A school bus was provided to transport folks from Homewood to support the plan (note that buses have never been provided for opponents of administration proposals). Even so only a small handful attended. Two school board members were absent as was the deputy superintendent.
My testimony, which I will look forward to revisiting in several years as we see how things pan out:
PPS Public Hearing
August 23, 2010
Annette Werner PURE Reform
I'm going to talk about the school reconfiguration plan. My overall impression of this plan is that it would not last in the long run because it forces arrangements that are not a good fit.
- 6-12 format- The community dialogues proved 6-12 to be an extremely unpopular grouping. It may be accepted at a school like CAPA with few sports and a select group of students who want to be there no matter what (although CAPA high school students have told me they would much prefer a performing arts high school). Elsewhere the 6-12 format imposes a burden on participation in sports and activities that would never be imposed on Allderdice or schools in the North and South regions and which will have to be fixed by a reconfiguration at a future date.
- Peabody area students to the Hill and Homewood- At risk students need a convenient, easily accessible school. Ongoing incidents in Homewood make the plan to send Peabody students to Westinghouse even more challenging and stressful for these students and their families. Eventually the Peabody community will take back the Peabody building.
- Mandatory CTE- Requiring students to participate in a career program, and a very limited one at that, solely because they live in a particular part of the city will not lead to a strong CTE program, particularly as students move in and out of the feeder pattern.
- Peabody building for IB- The combination of a non-central location, windowless spaces and limited outdoor athletic facilities will not help to attract students who have other options.
- Lack of regard for diversity- When this whole process began the high schools with limited diversity- Peabody, Oliver and Westinghouse- were the most problematic. The district then went ahead and added another school with limited diversity which has not been able to attract and retain students. Feeder patterns may be ever expanded but the more committed and involved parents will continue to seek diverse options for their children, leaving less diverse schools underenrolled and underperforming.
- Failure to align schedules of proposed year round schools with the schedules of younger family members.
Over the past two years I have spoken with all of you on the Board and observed most of your meetings, and I have found that each of you has common sense. Today I urge you to please, use that common sense to vote down this very untenable, ill-advised proposal. I know there are a better alternatives.