History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Superman & subsurface charter school animus

Before the response of the concerned abutters and neighbors was published on the Highland Park Community Association listserv, the comments there were trending in an interesting direction.

A surprisingly prompt grandfatherly nudge started out the short-lived discussion.  A sage elder suggested, why not rename the school the William Lloyd Garrison Bridge Charter School?  A few commenters seconded that proposal and one suggested the WLG Independent Living Center for Active Aging.  If you get his drift.

Then the haft of an ideological knife was exposed in a half dozen further comments:

What about the adverse effect a new charter school would have on the existing schools in the neighborhood?  Charter schools under perform.  Charter schools exert a downward pressure on teacher salaries.  Charter schools exploit recent college graduates.  Why "invite" a charter school into our neighborhood when our first priority should be to quality schools and producing dignifying jobs.  Charter schools cherry pick students.  Boston University's experience in Chelsea is a warning to us to resist the temptation to wait for Superman to solve our education problems.  Reagan's "permanent underclass" even got a brief mention.

Give the moderator, Mr. Rodney Singleton, credit.  His immediate response to this spate was to invite teachers and administrators to tomorrow's second annual neighborhood summit.  It's not clear where he sits on the issue, but the explicit invitation to the summit seemed to tamp down the ideological rhetoric against charter schools, per se.  Especially as the concerned abutters and neighbors never use the phrase "charter school" in their Guiding Principles document, concentrating their attention on zoning and traffic issues; although, they do express concern about the city-wide character of the proposed school.

For folks attending the summit tomorrow, it will be interesting to see whether character-of-the-neighborhood issues of zoning and traffic are drowned out by an ideological dispute over settled commonwealth educational policy.

No comments:

Post a Comment