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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rumored School Closings: "The Mulligan Gambit ?"

The latest rumors concerning school closings in the Oklahoma City School District are as follows: Northeast High School and Douglas High School will be merged. The recommended plan is to have Norteast retain its Magnet School status. Just how this will work out, I do not know. Also, Southeast High School and Capitol Hill High School will merge. Southeast will lose its Magnet School designation.

It appears to me that this is an attempt to do an "End Run" around NCLB. The schools in question have not made "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) for five years. If the school does not make AYP for a fifth year, the district must initiate plans for restructuring the school. This may include reopening the school as a charter school, replacing all or most of the school staff, or turning over school operations either to the state or to a private company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness.

Merging schools can be seen as an attempt to comply with this requirement. This way, the district can claim that these are new schools which begins the whole process anew. Something like this was accomplished with opening "New John Marshall" and creating our school, Oklahoma Centennial.

Think of it as the educational equivalent of a "Mulligan" in golf.


Rick said...

Enjoyed the below cartoon - I believe its our mother's birthday today.

Dr. Jan said...

I have not heard the rumors you mentioned. The principal of Northeast was sent to lead Douglass after the new principal there asked to return to his assistant principalship at Grant. The former principal of Classen who had been at Central Office on special assignment was assigned to go to Northeast and finish out the school year. There have been no decisions (yet) that have been voted on and approved by the Board on anything else. There has been some discussion about merging Northeast Academy high school students to Douglass and then sending Douglass middle school students to Northeast thereby turning it into a middle school; however, no Board decisions have been made (that anyone knows of).

I don't know what is going on with the other side of the Bombing Memorial to become property of the OKCPS; however, I read some information about it in the newspaper. I don't know where we would get the money to pay for it or what the purpose of the building would be.