To the editor, Sunday’s front page (March 16th) gave to Allentown with one hand then took away with the other. The paper proclaimed above the fold a “New Attitude” about the future of the city due to a controversial arena project, then underneath gave the back of its hand to the financially strapped Allentown School District because our libraries are “understaffed and underused”. Curious that the lengthy report neither mentioned the cause of the shortage of staff nor that the shortage is due to financial factors beyond the district or board’s ability to control. Thus, readers might conclude from this reporting that mismanagement, callousness, or indifference to the importance of libraries led to the current situation. How opposite is the truth, and The Morning Call and its reporter know better. That article did a disservice to quality journalism, the readers, and the Allentown School District. Scott ArmstrongMeanwhile, back in today's world of Facebook, school policy is often unofficially discussed by school directors, and the directors identified as Republican or conservative become irrational targets. A proposed resolution by Ce Ce Gerlach will be discussed at this evening's school board meeting. It seeks to involve the County Commissioners with the drop out rate at Dieruff and William Allen. Gerlach's proposal was reported by the Express Times, but The Morning Call, by policy, only has room for done deals. As an informed citizen, I think that the drop out rate is a reflection of the poverty culture dominating center city Allentown, more than a failure of the school district, and certainly isn't a reflection on the school board. Enter political operatives like Ed DeGrace, who writes, Identify the obstructionists and ask the voting community to hold them accountable and vote them all out! In reality we're fortunate to have a school board representing both the interests of the teachers and taxpayers. I believe that all the members put the interests of the children first.
UPDATE: The board voted 6-2 to table Cece's resolution requesting the County Commissioners to institute a task force on drop-outs. Although Cece expressed some bewilderment of that decision on Facebook, this blog obtained a note by member D. Zimmerman expressing his and the majority opinion; I think the administration has been working to address this issue over the past number of years and has made progress. The job is not over and it remains , I believe, a top priority of everyone involved with ASD. If some folks feel that progress is not sufficient, that is an issue they need to address separately. There is not one single solution to this problem. It is a multifaceted one and so necessarily is any solution to it. I fail to see how a county investigation will add anything to this mix or of what benefit it will be other than to reaffirm the obvious. I will not be supporting this resolution however I will strongly support any efforts by ASD to lower the dropout rates of our students.