Monday, April 6, 2009

School closings are ubiquitous 

After a planning session last night at God Father’s Pizza (and meeting house), concerned citizens are advertising a community wide protest, which is set for 5:15 p.m., prior to this evenings regularly scheduled board meeting. The protesters plan to call for the firing of Ken Hinton and the resignation of Board of Education President Dr. David Gorenz.

While I admire this groups’ “we ain’t gonna take it any more” attitude, schools all across the country are facing budget cuts due to the economic crisis. Peoria is not unique, schools are going to have to close here too. We (adults) could either choose to work with the School Board to make the transition for our students as smooth as possible; or we can continue to prolong the inevitable and risk damaging the moral of teachers and students by reacting with emotion filled protests.

Kids protest possible school closing
April 2, 2009
Lansing, Michigan - From Lansing State Journal -Dozens of students armed with picket signs and shouting "Save our school! Save Mt. Hope!" made their voices heard Wednesday night before a meeting about the potential closure of Mt. Hope Elementary School.

Fraser parents protest closing
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Charleston, North Carolina - Fraser Elementary School supporters continued fighting to keep their downtown school open by marching Monday to the Charleston County School Board meeting.

Parents Protest School Closing
March 23, 2009
Pennsecola, Florida - A local school is closing and the Monroe County Superintendent says the bad economy is to blame. The Monroe County Board of Education will be closing Frisco City High by the end of this school year. That's why parents and students were protesting outside the Monroe County Courthouse Monday, " we here today just to try to, you know, get our message out to the Board, that, hey we love our school and try to take a different approach to solving our money problems instead of just coming in and closing school," ...

Students Protest Irving Middle School Closing
March 19, 2009
Colorado Springs, Colorado - A moving billboard is the latest attempt to try to keep one Colorado Springs middle school open. About 30 parents and students gathered to protest the closing of Irving Middle School.

Students, parents protest school closing
Friday, February 27, 2009
New Jersey - A loud and boisterous protest was held Friday by hundreds of students in New Jersey. They are fighting to keep their school open after the archdiocese announced it was closing.
Chicago, Illinois - A group of parents camped out overnight outside the Chicago School Board. They want to make sure they'll get into this morning's meeting to protest a scheduled vote on closing more than a dozen local schools.


Themis said...

Great research. Kind of puts things in perspective, lest we think Peoria is a lone island in this mess. Yeah, thanks Bush!

EMERGE said...

It's really quite a sad picture. Yeah, that darn "No Child Left Behind" has successfully bankrupt the school system. We need to take advantage of this opportunity and bring schools and students into the 21st Century.

MiddleAgedWomanBlogging said...

I agree, the sad fact is that schools across the country are in dire straits, but I also agree Hinton and Gorenz need to go. There are many other reasons besides just school closings that led to this decision for me. Changing grades, shortened school days and watching excellent teachers leave the district are some of my concerns. Education in Peoria needs to be revamped. I do believe some schools may need to be closed, but I also know Peoria has a high rate of relocation among it's students and it puts them at a disadvantage. I am wondering if we shouldn't send all k-2 to one school, 3 - 5 to another etc., so when these families relocate their child can still attend the same school. I don't even know if it is feasible but I would like to know if it has been done in other cities.

Erik Bush said...

Hi Emerge,

I've sat here and stared at the screen for about five minutes. Twice now, I've typed a few sentences and deleted them.

I want so badly for everything to be rosy, but, it's simply not. One of the speakers tonight called me out specifically about, "maybe", not knowing anything about safety in schools. He recalled when a student of his died in gang violence. The implication was if I understood safety, then I wouldn't speak so much about the business decisions that need to be made in D150.

I suppose he's right. Technically, the students of my wife that were killed due to gang violence were her students, not mine. The tears were hers, not mine.

I was also, indirectly, criticized for making a comment about the worth of protests. I think maybe in trying to help folks understand the depth of the problem, I guess I talk to much about the depth of the problem.

If folks get the business issue, is it not possible we get the education issue? In other words, if it insults to explain and explain how damaged the budget is, how is it not equally insulting to explain with equal clarity and data to support your claim the negative impact business decisions have on education?


EMERGE said...

Education is big business. It is shielded by bureaucracy and bogged down with too many programs (i.e., big business).

It is past time to get down to the business of education. This dilemma that Peoria is in could be the best thing that ever happened for our children.

Shuttering schools is sad, but the inner city schools need reorganization. Bottom line - our children deserve better schools.

The District needs to keep it moving and get this done. Fully implement the plan pursuant to the schedule. The citizens will get over it. Just like they get over the fact that we live in a crime infested, decaying City, they can get over this.