Thursday, September 27, 2012

The pyramid scheme that is the Innovation School

I write to take issue with the “Your View” piece of September 26, 2012 entitled “Innovation School Brings Opportunity Where Little Exists”. The contributors to this piece, for the edification of the general public, are the listed principal proponents of the Esperanza School of Language and Culture who seek to occupy space within the Roosevelt Middle School. Occupy is indeed strong language, however it befits the presumed action should the New Bedford School Committee choose to move forward with the inclusions of Innovation Schools within the present infrastructure. Let’s examine but few of the inherently detrimental issues that would accompany the start-up of such a “school within a school”…

New Bedford, acknowledging its aging school buildings, chose to build three new Middle Schools to replace their out-of-date Junior Highs. Due to the method for monetary disbursement, the city had to first agree that the “Junior High Model” of education would be replaced by the newer “Middle School Model” that included the transfer of all sixth grade classes from elementary schools citywide. The three new middle schools were designed by The Mount Vernon Group, a firm whose authoritative understanding of the needed physical aspects of a middle school plant won them the contracts. When construction of a replacement to the Lincoln Elementary School was placed for bid, again The Mount Vernon Group was awarded the contract. There is, to be sure, a stark contrast to the two designs. And, it is as simple as understanding the inhabitants. The Lincoln School was built for the population that is the elementary child; from the location of its door handles to the height of its commodes. It is holistically ergonomic to the young child. The same cannot, nor should not, be said for the Roosevelt Middle School where the Esperanza School has requested to occupy space. Modifications throughout the entire building would need to be made to satisfy even the simplest of daily needs. And on whose dime?

Next, the co-education of elementary children and middle school-aged children is of concern, not only to me, but to the American population as a whole. We, in America, choose to educate our children separated by groupings of like-aged students. The Grammar School concept is not one we endorse as a preferred course. As a nation, our parents, educators, communities and legislative bodies understand that the young child is at greater danger when they are placed in immediate contact with children who are much older, much larger, much more “worldly” than they. We would all be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge the possibility of an uninvited, unnecessary occurrence between a young child and a pre-teen somewhere in the timeline that would be the Esperanza School. How late is too late to understand this?

When our parents across the city begin the process of studying the proposed Innovation Schools, they must be armed with a complete vision of the impact they would have. Begin by asking YOUR child how large their class size is. When the response returns in the mid to upper 20’s, consider this~ both the Esperanza and the Renaissance schools have proposals that calls for class numbers of between 15 and 20. Now know this~ in order to satisfy those numbers, children who already inhabit those classrooms (YOUR children) will be disbursed into other non-Innovation classrooms to be added to their large numbers. Soon you will begin to understand the pyramid scheme that is the Innovation School. Slowly, almost imperceptive, the numbers of students in your child’s class will creep upwards and your child will be the one to suffer. 

I urge every parent, community-minded individual, business owner to speak out against this unwarranted attack on the school system by a small number of individuals. Once accepted by the School Committee of New Bedford, they are here to remain as is their lasting negative impact on the greatest population, the children who will have to “make do” in order to feed the voracious appetite of these outsider schools.

Bill Lacey
New Bedford resident, New Bedford teacher
Chair, NBEA Community Relations

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the forces that be want to fill Roosevelt they could fill it with Middle School students. Have the backbone to re-draw the lines and even out the three Middle Schools population. Normandin is busting at the seams!