Thompson: Parents Often Draft Better Plans Than Bureaucrats
The Washington Post's Emma Brown, in "D.C. Parents Develop Alternatives to Chancellor's School-Closure Plan," writes that Kaya Henderson challenged parents to produce more than "heartfelt pleas" as an alternative to her plan to close 20 schools. Sure enough, parents pulled together concrete alternatives. The parents' plans include anti-truancy programs, early-childhood education, after-school tutoring and crime prevention.
I'm not surprised that parents in Washington D.C. drafted better plans than the educrats. When my district held public meetings to contribute to our school consolidation plan, they provided an essential reality check. The bottom line for many was that it was idiocy to combine middle and high schools (as opposed to the alternative, pre-k to 8th grade schools.) The district did not heed the parents' wisdom. Sure enough, after the first day in 6-12th grade schools, one twelve year-old was found hiding and curled in a fetal position and a sixth-grader told her mom, "there's not one nice person in that building."
Similarly, D.C. middle school parents also oppose the district's plan to combine a high poverty middle and high school. One mother said, “The weed smoking, the hanging out that they do, ... I just can’t see sending a sixth-grader into that kind of environment.” I wonder whether Chancellor Henderson would let parents draft plans for safe and orderly secondary schools ... -JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.