Friday, April 14, 2017

Jeff Bryant: Erie Pennsylvania’s Schools Are a Canary in the Coal Mine of Education

Erie Pennsylvania’s Schools Are a Canary in the Coal Mine of Education:

Erie Pennsylvania’s Schools Are a Canary in the Coal Mine of Education


Jay Badams has reached the limits of his patience.
As superintendent of Erie, Pennsylvania schools since 2009, he’s dealt with the chronic underfunding of his schools for years. Every year, he and his staff grapple with ever more painful budget cuts. He and his staff are sick and tired of meetings on what to cut next. Should it be libraries? Athletics? Art and music programs? His repeated appeals to state lawmakers to come to Erie’s rescue have had little effect.
When Badams and his colleagues calculated the district’s budget this past spring, they found that closing four of the district’s high schools could save two to three million dollars.
But the decision to consider closing Erie public high schools is more of an “ethical decision” rather than just about the dollars and cents, Badams tells me in a phone conversation.
Because many of the school districts that surround Erie are so much better funded, students from the closed Erie high schools could transfer to schools offering a far better educational experience. The neighboring Harbor Creek district, for instance, spends $1,360 more on each student than Erie can.
“We have only one competitive high school offering a single track in science, technology, engineering and math,” Badams told me. “Competitive programs at high schools in some of the surrounding districts have multiple tracks, extensive foreign language instruction and other electives—it’s like comparing a goat track to a state-of-the-art indoor-outdoor stadium.”
But is closing the high schools the right thing to do?
This is the ethical question many more communities are likely to face.
chools in low-income communities in many states don’t have the resources to give students access to opportunities that are available in wealthier areas. This well known fact is most Erie Pennsylvania’s Schools Are a Canary in the Coal Mine of Education:

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