Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Where's the outrage?
The students of the bedraggled Duquesne School District will not be taking art or music classes next year. The 2006-07 preliminary budget passed last night by the state's board of controllers also eliminates the positions of elementary math teacher, elementary English teacher, high school Spanish teacher (forget about foreign languages in grade school), kindergarten assistant, psychologist, social worker, and speech therapist.
This means students will learn from the school superintendent, principal, custodian, and football coach.
There's plenty of blame to be assigned for the plight of the small, decaying urban district, but what's been most disappointing has been the absence of leadership on the part of the governor and one of America's great newspapers, the Post-Gazette.
When a fundamentalist cabal seized control of the school board at the uber-wealthy and ever-so-modest Upper St. Clair School District, and proposed the elimination of the frighteningly secular International baccalaureate program, the PG leaped into action, chronicling every development. A google search of the PG web site shows the paper printed more than 40 stories and editorials on the subject.
After several weeks of debate on the program's fate and vociferous community activism, Governor Ed Rendell opened his taxpayer-issued checkbook and offered $85,000 to the region's wealthiest school district if they would keep the IB program.
The USC community was indubitably critical to the program's restoration. Whether the PG was instrumental is debatable, but it certainly did not hurt. Why the PG has been less than intrepid while covering the demise of Duquesne or the indifference of politicians and the community, has yet to be explained.
And so I ask, where's the outrage?