Friday, February 29, 2008

Schenley: The Fallout

Jen Lankin, Schenley parent and volunteer organizer within the Save Schenley movement, distributed a letter so moving on recent School Board actions that the Comet must reproduce it in near-entirety.

I guess it took this vote to really crystallize what I find wrong with dividing up Schenley, both the building and the kids. It's not only broken the kids apart, it will, by design it seems, pit the schools against the other.

I chose the magnet program because I believed in the idea that different kinds of kids could learn things from each other. I chose it because when I asked for changes or better choices, I wasn't asking just for my kid(s), but for the whole school, the whole concept. I wasn't in it just for my kids, but for all of their cohort, their peers.

Now, I'm in a position where fighting for the best interests of my child (in particular my 8th grader) pits me against those kids who would have been his class, his cohort at Schenley.

To demand the best teachers teach at Frick next year is to lessen the possibility of the kids at University Prep having those same teachers.

To spend the money to make this staying behind palatable is to spend money that could have been better spent on a unified school, guidance counselors, mentors, improved programs.

To demand a range of classes (CAS, PSP, mainstream, electives) at Frick is to ask for resources that will take away from the kids at University Prep and Reizenstein.

To have programs move with the Schenley kids to Reizenstein (Youth and Government, the musical, band, chorus, etc.) is to deny other kids those same opportunities or to require duplication (likely impossible with only a small school).

This division guarantees that the good and great teachers have to make choices about where to be -- and right now there's not much room for them at University Prep! I can't see how they can be fairly split in the future, either.

I don't know how to ask for what's right for my kid when it's going to hurt other people's kids, because that's not right.

Jen Lankin can be contacted at jendo89@aol.com.

2 comments:

  1. undercover parentMarch 2, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    I couldn't let the 0 COMMENTS sit on the blog any longer. The subject Jen writes about stirs too much emotion to be left at ZERO. The post teaches some lessons to parents who may not be directly impacted by the proposed changes at Schenley, Frick, University Prep, etc. This may one day be an exemplary school district, but the changes and possible mistakes and tough decisions to get it there are hard pills to swallow. How these changes are accepted will be judged by how happy the kids and parents turn out to be. My advice to those implementing the plan, IT IS IN THE DETAILS!!! If there is a 9th grader yellow bused to Reizenstein for soccer practice which gets over at 5:00, somebody better be sure that kid gets home safely. That will likely mean activities buses to all communities.

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