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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Newsweek asks how

Newsweek asked why I thought Stanton and Paxon were bad for public education, this is what I told them.

Stanton and Paxon the two Jacksonville schools that made your list are unlike the other public high schools in our city. They recruit the cream of the crop of middle schoolers, to go them and then if a student is a discipline problem or does not maintain a 2.0 grade point average they are asked to leave. Furthermore the school board spends more resources on those schools and not only do they get many of the cities best and most motivated children, many of who are leaders and role models but they get many of the best and most involved families as well.

They not only don't play by the same rules as the other schools in Jacksonvilled and they are in effect stealing from them. This has serious and dreadful repercussions not only to those schools but to the city as a whole. Are those the types of schools you should have on your list?

I get it, people like lists but it seems to me your list should be about the best schools that play by the rules, work hard and succeed and not have schools, no matter how impressive they are, where success is guaranteed, that are playing with a stacked deck.

When our school board sees your articles they get enamored and expect all the schools, even the ones that have to take whoever they get and keep them despite behavior and ability or lack there of, to duplicate that success and when they can't the students and teachers there pay the price. When the public sees those lists they think things must not be that bad, when the truth is 11 of the 15 non magnet schools in Jacksonville, the neighborhood schools, are either failing (5 are considered drop out factories) or in a turn around status. Our crime rate high and our economy is weak and if we can trace those things back to education, then the fact that the city has put all it's eggs in two baskets, Stanton and Paxon while treating the rest of the cities children as second class has to have played a role in that.

Newsweek, the Washington Post and whoever else subscribes to this list are hurting our city and our children. If children are important to you as you say, you should stop including those schools.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher

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