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Old 07-09-2009, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,567 posts, read 21,393,671 times
Reputation: 6558

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Pearce Middle School to close this fall (http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/2009/07/09/0709pearce.html - broken link)

Quote:
Pearce Middle School will close this fall under orders from the state, Austin school district Superintendent Meria Carstarphen announced Wednesday.

For years, students at the Northeast Austin school have struggled to meet accountability standards on state achievement tests. The school has been deemed "academically unacceptable" for the past five years and underperforming for eight of the past 10 years, according to the Texas Education Agency.
Quote:
Pearce's performance dramatically improved in recent years, but not enough to clear all hurdles. This year's preliminary test results show students overall met standards in reading, math, social studies and writing. But in science, Pearce missed the mark.

"I am disappointed and respectfully disagree with the TEA decision," said Carstarphen, who is in her second week as superintendent. "I believe that under the new law, Pearce could have stayed open and continued on this accelerated path of improvement."
I find it hard to see how closing this school is the best thing to do. It has shown such remarkable improvement in recent years it seems a shame to give up now. That is one hell of an accomplishment to go from being below standards to exceeding the standards in most areas. The school and students had to overcome years of previous neglect to accomplish that.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:36 AM
 
443 posts, read 755,647 times
Reputation: 273
Absolutely!

Most of those students need to be sent to another middle school where they can be shown that education is a quality that the majority of people in our society actually value.

The problems with that school are systemic and have been for years. Many of the kids think its OK to be dumb and act stupid. I had a close friend who taught there 10 years ago and one of the kids threw a rock and hit her in the head. None of the kids would say who did it. She is a very good teacher and great person. That's completely crappy esp. when you're talking about Assault w/Deadly Weapon and nobody seems to care. Administrators did nothing about it. Moreover, there's been little or no parental support for that school.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:37 AM
 
409 posts, read 907,735 times
Reputation: 134
I heard on KLBJ this morning that Pearce Middle School has been the worst performer in the whole state of Texas, not just Austin. I would have thought that some school in Laredo, El Paso or Dallas would hold that distinction. It won't really close, it will be used for some other purpose and the kids will be redistributed to another school that meets state standards. It is unfortunate that they won't be able to stay in their neighborhood but that might be part of the problem as well. The teachers and district aren't totally to blame for it's failure. The parents need to reinforce in their kids the need to do well in school and to behave in a way that will make learning a priority.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Dripping Springs , TX
786 posts, read 1,766,357 times
Reputation: 205
Being a newcomer to the state, I am confused as to what happens in a case like this. Do the students just get moved to other schools in the area and cause their class sizes to go up? Do we now have a facility shuttered up instead of being used?

Or is this more in line with a business bankruptcy where the physical school stays open but the administration and staff get replaced?

I agree with you. From the article is appears that the school was on the right track to improve things.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,567 posts, read 21,393,671 times
Reputation: 6558
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATX Homeboy View Post
Absolutely!

Most of those students need to be sent to another middle school where they can be shown that education is a quality that the majority of people in our society actually value.

The problems with that school are systemic and have been for years. Many of the kids think its OK to be dumb and act stupid. I had a close friend who taught there 10 years ago and one of the kids threw a rock and hit her in the head. None of the kids would say who did it. She is a very good teacher and great person. That's completely crappy esp. when you're talking about Assault w/Deadly Weapon and nobody seems to care. Administrators did nothing about it. Moreover, there's been little or no parental support for that school.
It does make sense that the problems there go way beyond the school and the teachers. The teachers always get the blame, but there is only so much that anyone teacher can do if the whole culture these kids live in doesn't place a value on an education.

The newspaper article says something about "repurposing" the school. I'm not clear on what that means. It would seem a shame to have a perfectly good facility sitting there unused.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:04 PM
 
Location: 78747
3,202 posts, read 2,681,501 times
Reputation: 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by iceshots View Post
Being a newcomer to the state, I am confused as to what happens in a case like this. Do the students just get moved to other schools in the area and cause their class sizes to go up? Do we now have a facility shuttered up instead of being used?

Or is this more in line with a business bankruptcy where the physical school stays open but the administration and staff get replaced?

I agree with you. From the article is appears that the school was on the right track to improve things.
They get bussed to Bedichek, O. Henry, and other lucky schools in central Austin. The Statesman gave a list this morning, and it would be on their website.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:14 PM
 
2,226 posts, read 5,829,547 times
Reputation: 890
The ignored elephant in the room is that the parents are the problem. It doesn't matter what school they go to, kids that fail generally have a lack of support/structure/whatever from their parents. School can only do so much.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:35 PM
 
Location: 78747
3,202 posts, read 2,681,501 times
Reputation: 915
all is not lost. The students transferring from Pearce have the opportunity to attend the following schools, according to a contingency plan approved by AISD in May:

Bailey
Bedichek
Burnet
Covington
Dobie
Gorzycki
Lamar
Martin
Mendez
O Henry
Small
Webb

Last edited by jobert; 07-09-2009 at 02:05 PM..
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:40 PM
 
Location: 78747
3,202 posts, read 2,681,501 times
Reputation: 915
Who wants to place a bet that the parents with kids in O. Henry, Covington, and Bailey hire lawyers? a joke, but seriously...I would like to see the final stats showing exactly what percentage of Pearce students actually transfer into these 3 particular schools

I think transferring could be smooth, or it could blow up and expose attitudes, prejudice and inequality like the latest police shooting has. If you think about it, people in central neighborhoods are willing to pay $200K+ extra because of the quality of schools their neighborhood feeds into. Multiply that by 10,000+ households, and that a lot of property value that relies on the quality of the school being attended - and a potential storm brewing. Maybe they will suck it up and take them in, maybe it will get ugly, maybe no one will notice? This may be more complex that people realize, as it could be a hard blow to north central Austin, or the new Superintendent Carstephen may soon learn another lesson about how this town works. Let's see how it plays out.

Your thoughts?

Last edited by jobert; 07-09-2009 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,776 posts, read 18,291,091 times
Reputation: 3649
A co-worker of mine who went to school at Pearce many, many years ago, related a story about how his family moved out of the neighborhood when busing was being set up in the 70s precisely because of property values loss due to potential drop in (perceived or real) school quality.
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