December 6, 2009

Slam dunk for the upwardly mobile

More social engineering, this time affecting underserviced kids in big cities and the arts.

This comment (see the second paragraph) from a DC teacher just got posted to an ed listserv:
"... Arne Duncan (with Obamas support) wants to lengthen the DC school year and hours in the day! You know that the DC teachers lost their class action case in court. They are furious with the current union president as well as Randi Weingarten and do plan to do individual law suits. Bloomberg must be drooling with delight.

"Meanwhile, there is a DC school for the arts [Hardy MS] which took students in from low income neighborhoods from all over DC. The school was very run down but still managed to create quite a name for itself. It happens to be located in Georgetown. Anyhow, they had a recent renovation and SUDDENLY the families of Georgetown want their kids to get first crack during the enrollment period claiming it has always been a neighborhood school. Meanwhile, Rhee is backing the parents of Georgetown. This was on the news the other night and I forget the name of the school. But isn't it so disgusting?"

Not that anyone who reads this blog needs an encyclopedia to find out where Georgetown is, but I found the Wikipedia account pretty useful, and the boldface is of course mine:

Georgetown is bounded by the Potomac River on the south, Rock Creek to the east, and Glover Park to the north. Its primary commercial corridors are M Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW, whose high fashion stores draw large numbers of tourists as well as local shoppers year-round. There are also several high-end developments on K Street, on the waterfront, featuring outdoor bars and restaurants popular for viewing boat races. Between M and K Streets runs the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, today plied only by tour boats; adjacent trails are popular with joggers or strollers.

Georgetown is home to the main campus of Georgetown University, as well as the embassies of France, Mongolia, Thailand, and [the] Ukraine. Other landmarks include Dumbarton Oaks, where the United Nations was outlined in 1944; the Old Stone House, built in 1765 and the oldest structure in DC . . .
School Chancellor Michelle Rhee's contention that there may have been misunderstandings in the application process doesn't ring true. Here's how Bill Turque reports on what's happening at Hardy in today's Washington Post:
Rhee, who promised that Hardy's arts curriculum would not change and that the school would remain open to out-of-boundary enrollment, is looking for ways to retain more of the city's white middle class families, who usually leave the public school system after the fourth or fifth grade.

But in a tense and often angry two-hour session in the school cafeteria, punctuated by calls of "liar" and "no BS," Rhee was confronted by accusations that she wanted to squeeze minority students out of Hardy to make it more palatable for white families from neighborhood "feeder" schools. Some said the neighborhood wants to "take back" Hardy now that a $48 million renovation is complete.

Rhee, who has held meetings over the past year with parents at nearby elementary schools such as Key, said they have long been confused by Hardy's application process, which she said left the misimpression that it was not a neighborhood school open to all within its attendance area.

Members of the Hardy community said that was insulting and absurd and that elementary parents have heard years of presentations from Pope and his teachers about how Hardy operates. They also took issue with meetings Rhee has held with feeder school parents over the past year while failing to consult with Hardy's parent leadership.
I suppose one should be happy if ANY kids get an arts program these days, but there's a stench about the way they are delivering it in Georgetown.

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