I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Race Politics Surrounding School Closure Decisions has published a piece I wrote about school closure decisions at the local level, and how decisions on closure sometimes stoke unwarranted claims of bigotry, racism, etc.

It is an interesting topic that does not get much attention, but why not ask the question:  How many drastically underutilized public school facilities are being kept open, to the detriment of other overcrowded schools, to appease those who think closure decisions are an attack on poor minorities?

From Watchdog Arena:

"Ya’ll a bunch of racists!” the man was screaming in my face.  “Corrupt! Ya’ll don’t care about black folks!” I could see the anger in their faces. I could hear them. They were in my face, and they were following me out the door. Many people had lobbied me prior to the meeting, imploring me to keep the school open.  One student even sent me a hand written plea.The meeting had just ended, the one where we closed a neighborhood school in Century, Florida.  On my way to the car the folks who had attended the meeting had no problem shouting in my face, letting me know what they thought.  It was tense for a few moments because I was outnumbered and I felt like the face of the system with
 which they were unhappy. I was a swing vote in the 3-2 decision to close the school.Carver-Century

 K-8 was closed that night in 2009. Designed to accommodate more than 600 students, the enrollment at Carver had dwindled to 100, and it was no longer a viable option to keep it open.  Other schools in the district had swollen to the point that they were dramatically over capacity.Several of our elementary schools were addressing the capacity issues with portable classrooms.  Some schools had as many as 20 of these “relocatables.”  Portable “farms” behind the well-performing suburban schools were a common sight in our district. So why the difficulty in simply balancing resources and shutting schools with excess capacity to provide relief to schools that were over capacity?  Seemed pretty straightforward to me given we’re a school district with finite resources and seemingly never-ending needs."


Gulagathon said...

The people who want to yell and holler about the school being closed, and how racist it is to close a majority black school or minority school; where were these people when the students were acting crazy, fighting, and being disrespectful to the adults who work at the school. Where were these mad people when students were leaving these bad schools in droves for the search of a better education. Parents need to wake up, and deal with these behavior problems, or there will be a lot more school closures.

These schools aren't closed simply because the kids are black, these schools are closed because of the lackluster performance of these schools. These kids just happen to be black. There may be traces of racism a little, but that is no where near the main problem. If the kids would get their act together then the schools most likely would not get shut down. But with the quagmire that exist in these schools and in the minds of the people who reside in these communities, it doesn't look like its going to get any better.

Jeff Bergosh said...

You are right on in your assessment of discipline being a big part of the death of these schools. Parents want their children in safe schools, and they, increasingly, do not trust that we as a district are doing what needs to be done with the most disruptive, and oftentimes dangerous and violent students. Parents know Political Correctness rules the day in many discipline decisions, in order to pacify and mollify the outside special interest organizations that intensely lobby and demand more "chances" for disruptive students. Ironically, many on the left who golf-clap and approve such leniency, allowing some students to get as many as 62 referrals for serious misconduct issues as they bully, backtalk, fight, demoralize staff, destroy classroom learning time, and eventually work their way through our system-------- most of these liberal apologists that want no discipline meted out to some students who have challenged backgrounds--most of these social engineers have their own precious children in private schools or they live one county over. Hypocrisy on steroids. If there is one issue where I have not been forceful enough to effect change during my time on the board here, it is this issue of our rampant discipline standards enforcement failure. Enforcing rules is 100% under our control, irregardless of what a student looks like, where he comes from, or what his "poverty" issues are. We acquiesce to the PC establishment at the expense of our existing students and parents, which is disgusting and disgraceful. And we wonder why nobody is going into teaching anymore, and why we cannot staff some schools at all. We wonder why our enrollments are stagnant? It's not a mystery: It is all a function of us failing to assert control over our learning environment by DEMANDING that our behavior standards be respected. We fail on this, but I'm going to work on this like a pit-bull for my remaining time on this board and I'm not stopping no matter who gets offended by what I find out and disclose.

Gulagathon said...

It's definitely political correctness on steroids. Before I got into my stint in the education world, I did not think that discipline was so out of control. I had no idea of what a quagmire it is. I think that, schools with a population that is mainly minority students, can still prosper, even if less experienced teachers are teaching them. They can still do well because the teacher does have some drive to be there as an educator. So most of the time a less experienced teacher does want to teach, and can do a descent job, and really make some good contributions into the students lives. BUT the BEHAVIOR has to change!

I never would have thought that school administrators would be so nonchalant about this madness. If the administrators would just grow a spine, then things could change. People always want to cry after the fact when a school is going to close. People have got to WAKE UP.