This is the Schenley post.
MacYapper - That's the point of life young Sophie. Things change. They won't always be the same. You don't necessarily get to go to the same high school all four years. [Redacted] happens. Life is complicated. You're going to go through a helluva lot more changes in your life, so you may as well get used to it now.
The entire progress of the school district is being held up by a bunch of sentimental saps who can't deal with change or reality.
THEY'RE CLOSING THE FREAKING BUILDING. GET OVER IT!
John McIntire is a humble blogger once again, but this is quite representative of the assumptions underlying mainstream media reporting -- and certainly all of the respectable commentary.
It is patent sophistry.
McIntire (and you all) talk about the "progress of the school district" getting held up. It is true the motion of the school district is being held up, but to call it progress is just plain lazy.
A) The Comet has been conducting research on the popularity of merging junior high schools and high schools into grade 6 - 12 schools. Nobody thinks this is a good idea -- we have met zero individuals who are not horrified. The most common single-word response is "retarded."
B) Turning the District into a series of "theme schools" makes the Comet nervous. We can understand how that is supposed to make Pittsburgh Public Schools more marketable -- remember this is the school district that tried to drop the word "Public" from its name -- but in general we don't like the idea of asking nine year-olds to choose a major. We certainly see the potential for soft but efficient segregation by class.
C) Hello. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Schenley is one of the best performing high schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools right now. That might seem like being the fastest running catcher in baseball -- but generally you don't close what's actually working best.
D) If we must have "theme schools" of some kind, Schenley represents the best of everything that should counterbalance them. The students know it and feel it and appreciate it. Work around Schenley.
E, F, G) In a previous edition of MacYapper:
And finally... THE PITTSBURGH SCHOOL DISTRICT IS STILL TRYING TO JUSTIFY CLOSING THAT ASBESTOS RIDDEN RAT TRAP KNOWN AS SCHENLEY.
GET OVER IT. IT'S A BUILDING! IF IT'S THE ONLY BUILDING MAGICAL ENOUGH TO ALLOW TEACHERS TO DO A GOOD JOB THEN WE'RE IN A GREAT DEAL OF TROUBLE!
First of all, that building has excellent feng-shui. You got Oakland, you got the Hill, you got Shadyside -- beat that.
Secondly, "asbestos ridden rat trap?" We hope you have some first-hand experience. A lot of people are leaping to the conclusion that Schenley is:
1) Deadly dangerous right now
2) Would be way too expensive to fix, and
3) There would be significant savings after shuffling three or four schools worth of students and making material adjustments on those facilities.
In a previous Comet post, Jennifer commented:
Bram, you need to write a post on Tuesday's rally and hearing since NONE of the media seemed to actually listen to the speakers. No One is questioning the threat of asbestos or the cost. They just keep repeating the administrations talking points.
Well, we guess we just did, but you're right about the speakers -- they were defending their school as awesome and the best thing about Pittsburgh Public Schools. What we agree on is, you'd think if we've learned anything at all over the last four years, it is to not just uncritically disseminate Administration Talking Points.
The suspicion is that Schenley is being opportunistically railroaded in order to expedite a city-wide reform agenda -- one that does not face the elected School Board until February -- one that was crafted exclusively by bureaucratic bean-counters, paranoid semi-suburbanites, and ACCD-type business theorists -- to the exclusion of educators, parents, the local community, and anybody with a lick of common sense.
That is the suspicion. That is the story.