Saturday, June 19, 2010
KC's Scholastic Catastrophe
"Westport High is a magnificent old building, all brick and fine masonry, set high on a hill in the heart of town. It's more than 100 years old, just a few blocks from where Ernest Hemmingway lived before he went off to drive ambulances in the Great War. So one might expect an angry roar against its inclusion in a plan to close nearly half of Kansas City's 57 public schools this summer. Instead the vibe is more, What took you so long? ... School districts all over the country are wrestling with problems in urban centers, but Kansas City's plan has caught national attention because of its scope. ... The situation n New Orleans was 'created by a natural disaster. [KC] is due to a human-made disaster,' says Jack Jennnings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a public-school advocacy group. ... Money hasn't been the problem. In 1985, a federal judge ordered the state to pony up $2 billion to address decades of unconstitutional treatment of black children. ... Meanwhile kids weren't proficient in the basics--and still aren't. At a majority of the schools, fewer than one-quarter of the students were proficient in math and English last year. On any given day, the buildings are half empty. [KC] had some 75,000 public-school students in the 1960s. Today it has about 17,000", my emphasis, Karen Ball at Time, 14 June 2010: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1993877,00.html.
Wow. KC's public schools have 17,000 students and 3,000 employees, one for every six students. What do they all do? Look at the money KC spent at the behest of an ignoramus federal judge. The time will come when localities ignore federal judges' orders and dare the judges to imprison everyone in the locality. The waiting lists for jail grow daily. What was supposedly unconstitutional about KC's treatment of black school children anyway?