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Why is Comprehensive Review so un-comprehensive?

 Sept. 8, 2010

Ask a school board member if there's talk about moving easily moved programs into underfilled schoolhouses, and the answer is, "No." Try it with your favorite school board member.

 Or ask a school board member if there's discussion about creating K-8 schools in underfilled elementary schoolhouses, the answer is, "No." Try it.

What's going on? Is the Comprehensive Review really comprehensive?

Perhaps school board members should put down their data tables and ask, "Are there some golden opportunities staring us in the face?"

Amid unconscionable failure with creating high student achievement in some elementary schools, is it time to consider some other ways to do business?

Consider the Spaugh Middle school attendance area. Spaugh is at the bottom of the heap of middle schools in the "performance-cost indicator" sweepstakes handed to board members Tuesday. That means the spotlight is on Spaugh for closure.

The children who enter Spaugh next year will come from six westside elementaries: Ashley Park, Barringer,  Bruns Avenue, Irwin Avenue, Thomasboro and Westerly Hills. Not all of the 5th graders from those schools, of course, arrive at Spaugh. Many of the parents paying closest attention find other options for their middle school aged children. Which is part of the reason why Spaugh is struggling.

If Barringer didn't have a partial magnet under roof, every one of those six elementaries would have just about enough room to keep their sixth, seventh and eighth-graders under roof. Right, datamongers?

Such a setup would give those youth an immensely greater connection to neighborhood and siblings. The mentoring and tutoring potential would be immense. Right, educators? And is it not true that young teens struggling with reading would learn a whole lot about reading from helping younger children with reading?

What other golden opportunities are staring us in the face?

Steve Johnston

 

Reader response:

"I usually don't agree with you on assignment matters, Steve. But I am impressed with your suggestion for Spaugh students! Sounds very constructive to me."

Sharon Starks, Sept. 9