Thursday, November 29, 2007

Breaking Your Heart

This article on Johnston High breaks your heart. It really does. For those of you outside of Austin, Johnston High is in danger of closing under the "No Child Left Behind" rule. It is zoned to take in 1,357 high school kids from the surrounding area. It only has about 650 kids. Anyone who can transfers their kid to another school. It was actually due to close this year, but the commissioner took some pity on it and is giving it another year. Although it doesn't sound like it's going to make it. Some quick data points to illustrate how dire the situation is:

There were 12 people marching in the band at homecoming. Oh, but 5 of those were volunteers from other places that didn't attend the school.
They had to cancel their football season because they didn't have enough players that passed their classes. They did play homecoming, but they were tromped.
"At the nine-week mark in the school year, 57% of Johnston's students already had at least two unexcused post-lunch absences." There was a suggestion to close the school for lunch, but the PTA president bended to parent pressure not to close it. Can you believe that parents wouldn't want the campus closed to prevent at least some of these absences?
"One in five girls at the school will bear a child before she graduates. One in three doesn't speak English. About 40% of those students who enter Johnston in any given year won't finish the school year there. And with an average household income of $9,000 in the surrounding neighborhood, many parents expect their teenagers to work. PTA President Geneva Oliva, herself a 1974 alumna, admits that once the money starts rolling in, parents often decide a GED is just as good as a Johnston diploma."

We really need to save our nation's schools, this is a tragedy and it's going to be repeated elsewhere. I cannot believe how bad AISD lets their schools get before they try to do something.


yer mama said...

Wow. I had no idea it had gotten so bad. When I was in middle school Johnston was a viable option for the academy there. But I didn't go because of the distance. At that time the school had a good reputation.

dmd said...

Do you really think the school district is to blame? Any idea how hard it is to teach a kid when they work 40 hours a week or when simply don't care about school because their busy getting knocked up at 14? I'm sick of people blaming the teachers/district for everything. Kate's TAKS scores will probably triple the ones she had last year....simply because she moved schools. Yet it was her fault that kids failed last year? I don't think so.
The district obviously has some responsibility, but most of it lies with parents and the kids themselves.