Friday, February 06, 2009

Meadowbrook & Handley Junior High Schools

On a glorious weekday some months ago, I was driving by the local middle school and noticed something that seemed odd. The thing that caught my eye was the tremendous fleet of automobiles parked in the lots adjoining the school. At a casual glance, the sheer number of cars was amazing, considering that the oldest kid in the school was about 13—there wasn't a driving age student in that crowd.

Curious and with some time available, I cruised through the lots and counted the cars—there were just over 200 of them, or about 1 car for each 8 children in the school. Could there possibly be that many adults drawing their incomes from that one school? The local middle school has almost 1700 students, 14 principals and professional staff, and 130 teachers, which could account for about 144 of those cars. Maybe the rest of the cars were those belonging to custodians, lunch ladies, helpers, police, and whatever else today's progressive educators deem necessary to do their job...competently?

About half of us went to Meadowbrook Jr. Hi. and the other half went to Handley. After referring to a 1959 Meadowbrook Jr Hi student directory, I discovered there were just over 700 students listed, supervised by 3 administrators (a principal, vice-principal, and a dean of girls), 1 secretary, 1 part-time nurse, 30 teachers and counselors, and 6 maids, custodians. Add in several lunch ladies, and you probably had no more than 1 car for each 17 students in that 1959 parking lot...yes kiddies, we had cars back then---'57 Chevies and T'Birds among them. A few kids had Lambrettas, Cushmans, and who could ever forget Bill Gilmore and Sam Scott's Mustangs? (Not the Ford Mustang...look it up kiddies).

Today, 50-years on, Meadowbrook has 900 students (+30% over 1959 enrollment) and is on academic probation. The principal, Cherie Washington, “expects her school to move into Stage 5 sanctions. That means that Meadowbrook could be taken over by the state, reopened as a charter school or operated by a private management company.”

Today, Meadowbrook has 9 principals & administrators, 25 auxiliary staff, and 65 teachers, accounting for perhaps 99 cars in the parking lot (+135% more cars than 1959), or about 1 car for each 9 students. Overseeing all this progress in public education is a FWISD superintendent named Melody, BS Sociology from PU in Enid, who is being paid about $325,000/year. For this compensation Melody churns out linguistic pabulum such as spearheading long-term systemic reforms while fostering a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect, with initiatives such as "Project Prevail” and “Digital District.” Ever wonder why your property taxes are out of control and your grandchildren can't read?

Adios, ya'll

No comments: