Educational Pornography, or First View of the $75 MILLION new Grissom High

Separate but equal is still segregation in the US, so I assume separate and unequal would be too, wouldn’t you?

As you may know, the Huntsville City Schools has been fighting desegregation for 54 years.

Magnet schools were one compromise, and New Century Technology High School is a magnet STEM high school that has been around for nearly a decade. Like a bastard step-child, it got shuffled from the Research Park, which has no neighborhood near it, when Columbia High’s population increased. Then it went to Robert E. Lee Senior High, which got a new campus about 5 years ago. But it is, shall we say, on the wrong side of the tracks.

In spite of very low disciplinary problems, a robotics team who has gone to international competitions, and so on, New Century never worked as a magnet school because it was housed on the same campus as a predominantly black school, and, well, you can’t be so blatant as to have segregated bathrooms and lunch counters.

Even in Huntsville.

Let’s look at some pictures of the STEM magnetic high school in Huntsville.

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Whoops. There aren’t any.

Now we will look at the new Grissom.  (Photos by Bob Gathany, here used for educational purposes.)

I’m really puzzled about these very, very expensive patient dummies.
patient
If HCS is going to have these dummies, they belong at the STEM magnet.

Then there are 3D printers. Is there a real need for three of them?

3d

Robotics belongs at the STEM magnet. But why would anyone go to the magnet (desegregation, remember?) if they have this down the street:

roboticsIt goes on and on and on. Consider, if you will, the “Cyber Cafe” and “media center.”

cybbberI know I’m an old lady, but where are the books? I know library is a forbidden term in the educational realm, I get that, but when I use USPS “media mail,” I’m mailing books.

And don’t high schools run kids out 15 minutes after day’s end? So when will they visit the Cyber Cafe? I don’t even want to think about the cafe part, but drinks and school-issued laptops are probably not the greatest combo on the menu.

If you want more HCS eye candy, go to al.com.

By the way, the HCS has to run double shifts of buses because buses are sooo expensive. And the new supe has a $900/month car allowance. That’s $10,800 a year. Just saying.

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More Consultancy Fees for the Shredder. Separate and Unequal. A 3-Minute Tour.

Update, October 29:

Well, what a coincidence. I posted this on Friday, and today, Monday, there was some news on Butler’s “News” page and some more content on its homepage. Two of the events are for Tuesday, the 30th and one for the 31st. Not much notice then, but better than none.

Money for the Shredder.

With all the news about the beatings at the Pinnacle Schools and the propaganda regarding the digital initiative, you may have missed this article in the Huntsville Times by Challen Stephens: “Alabama leads nation in desegregation cases; Huntsville looks to shed 42-year-old order.” Stephens notes that Huntsville City Schools “remain under judicial order to erase signs of a dual system based on race,” but have “now decided that ending the order should be a top priority and has made that a performance goal for new Superintendent Casey Wardynski.”

Will the Board achieve this goal by obeying the law, doing the right thing, and eliminating the numerous disparities between predominantly white and predominantly black schools?

Not exactly. No, their strategy instead is — surprise — to hire a consultant: “Wardynski this summer brought in Maree Sneed, a Maryland educator turned Washington lawyer and desegregation specialist.” As of October 12, 2012, “Huntsville has paid Sneed for two days of work, $2,448 for July 31 and $2,076.75 for Sept. 14.”

Might as well have sent that $5524.75 through the shredder because Huntsville is nowhere near achieving even a separate and equal school system.

The 3-Minute Tour.

I can show you this in 3 minutes. Open a new tab and go to the HCS site. Now open 2 more tabs, one for Butler High, and one for Grissom. Some consultant (I’m willing to bet) got paid well over the summer to standardize the schools’ websites. Only they aren’t. Compare the Butler and Grissom home pages you just opened. Sure looks to me like a lot more is happening at one school than at the other.

Go a little deeper. Let’s try Guidance. Butler’s page is blank. Grissom’s says it is still under construction, but directs you to link tabs at top of that page, all of which lead to pages full of information and additional links.

Try Latest News. There are 6 subject links at Grissom. At Butler, there is no news [on 10/26; 3 items on 10/29].

How about School Publications? Grissom: 3 links. Butler: 0.

And so on.

How Can This Be Blamed on Students or Parents?

This is my favorite aspect of our short little tour. I simply can’t imagine how Wardynski, his enablers, or even the most rabid comment posters can blame this very public, very obvious display of inequality on the Butler student body or their parents. The students aren’t responsible for the website, and neither are the parents. I don’t know who is, but I can tell you that it doesn’t take a $2500 a day consultant to see that there’s a problem here.

If Consultant Sneed has any professional integrity, she’ll tell the Colonel to save his money because she can’t convince the Justice Department that Huntsville deserves unitary status.

She can’t because it doesn’t.

Dear Board:

Really guys, just how stupid do you think the US Department of Justice is?

“I don’t want us just to get unitary status, I want us to deserve it,” said McCaulley. I’ll clue you in, Ms. McC — you aren’t getting it any time soon.

McCaulley thinks that “the new digital initiative, awarding laptops to each student, helped standardize the curriculum between schools in different parts of Huntsville,” and that this will make a difference.

Malarky. The curriculum has always been standardized because the same textbooks have been adapted for all schools in the system. Geez, lady, think about it.

David Blair believes it is “way past time” to be getting out from under the deseg order: “It’s the right thing for the kids, right thing for the community and the right thing for the city.” Way past time — agreed. But the order isn’t going away just ’cause you are tired of having it hanging over your head, man.

Here’s a suggestion: instead of talking about digital initiatives, spend a few minutes online visiting the websites of the schools in the system. You might see what is obvious to the rest of us.

And while you are at it, type “Pinnacle” in the search box of the HCS main site.Why, oh why, is there nothing about the system’s alternative school on the system’s site?

One might conclude that the Supe, the Board, and the whole of Merts aren’t proud of their association with this train wreck.