Are professional educators supposed to care about children learning?
Tuesday, Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) agreed to “work on” leasing vacant Jefferson Park Elementary School – and “maybe” six others – to charter schools. The Board is apparently in no hurry to close the deals – maybe they do not need the money.
The President plans to send TUSD $53 million dollars in his Jobs Act and TUSD receives over $60 million dollars yearly for sham “desegregation” of a majority minority district.
The district receives mountains of Federal money. TUSD ncreases the local tax rate every year, but do they care about our children learning?
President Obama said, “As a nation, we have an obligation to make sure all children have resources they need to learn – quality schools, good teachers, the latest textbooks and the right technology. That’s why the jobs bill I sent to Congress would put tens of thousands of teachers back to work across the country, and modernize at least 35,000 schools.” (Obama, 2011)
TUSD is failing the President. TUSD students test at the bottom, parents are fleeing, and the district cannot hold serious public meetings. Nine TUSD schools have been vacant for years – Richey, Jefferson Park, Duffy, Reynolds, Van Horne, Wrightstown, Fort Lowell, Rogers and Roberts.
Charter schools have offered millions for the closed school sites, Basis, Sonoran Science Academy, and La Paloma Academy charter schools have been interested in five of the eight former campuses for $12.3 million. Why the delay?
TUSD Governing Board Clerk, Judy Burns dislikes any other schools. “Personally, my feeling is if we couldn’t sustain a school there, we shouldn’t give someone else the opportunity to do so,” Burns said. “For me, the focus is what would be to the liking of the neighborhood – what would fit with the community? Any monetary gain would be welcome, but that’s not the primary reason.” (Huicochea, 2011)
Tuesday, on KVOA TV, Board member, Mark Stegeman said Jefferson Park “Had everything they were looking for…a big preschool program which doesn’t compete with us.”
TUSD Superintendent, John Pedicone, also worries about the Charter option. “When you consider selling to an organization that may be in competition with you…we have to balance the value to the district and the value to the community.” (Huicochea, 2011)
Contrast those narrow opinions with the President’s broad view. What is wrong with competition in teaching children? Superintendent Pedicone thinks “value to the District” is different from “value to the Community”. Each public official gives parents a chilling view of how TUSD “Public” employees care about their Tucson childrens’ “need to learn”.
$12.3 million for charter schools to teach Tucson’s children is pretty simple. But TUSD’s Board has delayed decisions on charter schools. They evidently do not need the money, dislike competition and care very little about children “learning”.
Huicochea, A. (2011), Arizona Daily Star. Charter schools offer millions for closed TUSD buildings. http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/article_ea6d5dd8-e18a-546c-928e-e2e9ddedae71.html
Obama, B. (2011). White House. American Jobs Act. Strengthening the American Education System. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/24/weekly-address-strengthening-american-education-system