Mar 20, 2014

The School District, Politics and Media

Readers to yesterday's Morning Call were treated to Paul Carpenter's column on the reduction of school librarians. Although many of my blog posts offend the writers at the Call, Paul won't be offended because he doesn't read the blogs, or much on the web at all, for that matter. So, although the paper had a quarter page for Paul's opinion, it couldn't find room for a letter by an actual school director on the same subject. Here's Scott Armstrong's unpublished letter.
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 Armstrong
Meanwhile, 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.


Anonymous said...

Yea and than we have the teachers that are tenured and don't want to deveate from the arcaic format of teaching? Some just seem to have a plain disintrest in there job as a public servant to our children? This is very interesting, because last night pat brown had a hall phone meeting on the same subject, yet topic went on to a long winded talk about pa roads? The Hole of pa schools are failing as we all know? I suspect it has nothing to do with the shell trick with public funds though?

Yet they have a huge pension and punch the public clock daily?

patent pending

ironpigpen said...

There is no such thing as Free Money, contrary to what the NIZ Cheerleaders seem to think.

Someone WILL have to pay for the luxurious $ 177.1 million dollar Pawlowski Palace of Sport, sooner or later.

Conservatives offered up as scapegoats on a silver platter?

Probably par for the course in the City Without (Spending?) Limits.

I thought I heard on the radio yesterday that the name of the very first musical act to be giving a concert at the new transformational event center is to be announced today --- if this is true, I have every confidence you can barely contain your closeted excitement, Mr. Molovinsky.



Anonymous said...

redd, this is all about the pensions for you, isn't it? Maintaining the promises made to its employees is a big challenge, but not the only challenge facing ASD schools. The charter school impact is huge, unequal funding, and changes forced by state and federal law also put pressure on local school boards.