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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Opportunity Lost

Ribault, Raines and Jackson provide the city an opportunity.

The Times Union called the situation our most struggling schools find themselves in an opportunity. In case you haven’t been following the story, if Ribault, Raines and Jackson high schools and North Shore Junior High fail to improve they could be in store for some drastic changes, which could include shutting the schools down. The state rewriting the school grade rules and the district forcing advanced academic programs into their halls thus far has not been enough.

In a way the Times Union is right but it’s not just the schools that have an opportunity, it’s the district and the city itself. That’s right we the citizens of Jacksonville have an opportunity to examine how the district is run and demand changes be made. The district has an opportunity to finally start doing things the right way. It’s no wonder kids at the three high schools struggle as many have been pushed there without the skills they need to succeed. Most can’t read a grade level and less than half can do math yet some how they find themselves in high school, where after ninth grade there is nowhere left for them to be pushed to.

Is that the responsibility of the teachers at the fore mentioned schools who are asked to make years worth of gains in a few months or is it the fault of the district who has all but ordered teachers to pass kids whether they have the skills to or not. The answer is neither; it’s the citizens of Jacksonville through electing casual observers and politicians on their way up or way down to the school board. It’s the citizens of Jacksonville who have either tuned a blind eye to the problem or have just accepted the skewed reality being sold by those at 1701 Prudential Drive who are more concerned with protecting their niche than doing what is right for our children, that are ultimately responsible.

Kids should not be passed along without the skills they need and if they need extra help it should be provided, with legitimate and mandatory after school and summer school opportunities. Isn’t that the bare minimum of what our schools should be doing?

We find ourselves as a city and as a school district in a very precarious situation but the Times Union is right. The district has an opportunity to start doing things the right way the way they should have been doing things all along, or we the citizens of Jacksonville have the opportunity to say enough is enough, if you are not going to do it we will find somebody who will. All other opportunities are nearly too terrible to contemplate.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher


  1. Oppurtunity? You can't even spell it right.
    Are you really a teacher?

  2. I have to say I am embarrassed when I make errors like that, and wish I had a better excuse than I had the game on in the background and just didn't catch it but on the other hand if that’s you comment, all you have to say then I question how interested in education you are.

    Visiting here is a choice and maybe it is a choice you shouldn’t make any more.