"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

For Sale $1 -- Closed Schools

One of my former schools has been in the local news lately. Monroeville Elementary School, where I taught first and third grades from Fall 1976 through Spring 1987 closed last June (along with 3 others) as part of the school system's reorganization plan (read: financial and political debacle).

On April 17 the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette printed this about the sale of the school to the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese...
EACS allows sale of one school and leases another

The [EACS School Board] voted unanimously to sell Monroeville Elementary to the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese for $189,000. The diocese will relocate St. Joseph Hessen Cassel School on Old Decatur Road South into the building.
I was actually happy to read that news. The Catholic school in Monroeville does, indeed, have a
long history of being partners with the community
The school is a stable factor in the town of Monroeville. When Monroeville Elementary School closed one of my first thoughts was that maybe the local parochial school would move in.

There is, however, a problem. Yesterday's Journal Gazette had this short article...
EACS plan to sell school hits tangle
Charter group objects; diocese rethinks deal

As a result of legislation passed in 2011, school districts must place their unused buildings on an Indiana Department of Education list. The schools must stay on the list for 48 months, unless the district plans to reclaim the schools for academic purposes.

During that time, approved charter schools can buy or lease the school for $1. After the four-year period, then the district can sell the building to another entity.
If I'm reading this right, the charter school law passed last year by the Indiana Legislature states that a school corporation has to give first dibs on a closed school to Charter Schools...and they have to give Charter Schools four years to decide...before they can sell their property. The duly elected school board of East Allen County Schools wants to sell their property in order to recoup some of their share of the losses from the $300,000,000 that the state reduced from school budgets. According to state law they have to leave it open for a Charter School to lease or purchase it (for $1) for the next four years.

Think about this...the US DOE as well as the Indiana DOE chooses to judge schools by their test scores. The plan from the Indiana Legislature is to demand that schools do more with less money. The US DOE requires school systems to run based on corporate interests instead of pedagogically sound concepts (Charters, high stakes tests, evaluations based on those tests, etc) before any federal money is awarded. The result is that, across the nation, schools are broke and, by test score standards, schools are "failing." The demand from the "powers that be" is that they be closed. The result of the budget shortfalls is that school systems are forced to close schools. In Indiana, once the schools are closed they can be given to charter schools for $1.

The definition of paranoia is:
Noun: 1) Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.
2. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.
On the other hand, if America continues its blatant hostility towards public schools...is it really paranoia?
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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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