Tuesday, April 19, 2011

UISD, LISD continue to prove money is not the solution to failing schools

With facilities such as these, you'd think we'd have some of the states finest schools.

Tonight, Pro8news reported that UISD renaming it's Student Activity Complex after former trustee Bill Johnson. As usual all the local dignitaries took time off from their assigned duties to attend the event. Johnson himself gave the following statement: "We expect a lot out of our kids these days and they need to have the best platform to show their skills and talents and I think we have provided that for them here at the S.A.C."  In the years since the building of the SAC, UISD remains  unabated in its high-stakes building spree. Last year saw the completion of the new $50 million United High School. It's sheer size and cost clearly symbolizing a philosophy of waste and squander.

Meanwhile, there are similar developments at Laredo's oldest school district. At the revamped Shirley Field, LISD athletic director Rene Ramirez promoted the historic/refurbished facility in saying : "We were able to get all this under budget so we were able to negotiate to get the best facilities for L.I.S.D." In this case, under budget means $8 million dollars.

I remember when our school were pretty much shot but the majority of the students were at least considered to be functionally literate. Now, almost all schools in Laredo are brand spanking new. Even the elementary schools are equipped  with computer labs, full sized-gyms, expansive libraries and army of administrators . After hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into both school districts, Laredo's school still rank among the lowest-performing in the state.

Economically disadvantaged you say? That is exactly my point. A substantial turnaround in performance needs to happen way before even the slightest extravagance is to be considered. I think it's safe to say that we are still far from such a turnaround.

No amount of money, whether spent on sports facilities, new schools, teacher raises, the latest fad in curriculum programs (such as C-Scope), does anything to really help our students. The overwhelming majority of them continue to struggle daily in their attempt to acquire and, hopefully someday, master the most basic of skills in core subjects such as math, reading and writing.

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