We have met the enemy and...
By: Dick Hodgetts
My age shows when I mention a comic strip character named: POGO. He was a cute little fuzz ball who wandered around his swamp and spoke parables that were both funny and applicable to our lives.
POGO is gone like DeSoto cars, DuMont TV Network, Stanback headache powders, and Buster Brown shoes. One of his famous lines was: “we have met the enemy and he is us”. True then, true today.
I am reminded of POGO when I hear this story about recent happenings in the DeKalb County School system. The provisions of the No Child Left Behind legislation include an option for a youngster to be moved at taxpayer expense from a school that fails to make its AYP scores, to one where they have a better record of test scores. Seems okay to me. The devil, however, is in the details.
Not long ago, Clarkston High School fell into the category of underachieving on its test scores. It is reported that 400 students and their folks petitioned the DeKalb School system to move youngsters to Tucker High School, whose student body had tested very well. Tucker High has had a long history of academic success.
The Tucker Administration would not have been able to continually make their scores if they didn’t ask the right questions and plan for success. So when these transferees arrived the Tucker administration asked: “where will we house these new youngsters?” They needed more classroom trailers to house them, which were ordered and set up on the Tucker campus. Next, the Tucker Administration said: we need new teachers to teach this influx of students. DeKalb County responded: “it so happens we have surplus teachers for you”. Now don’t get ahead of me; but the surplus teachers were from Clarkston High which had lost these same transferring kids. Now you can jump ahead and say: “don’t tell me….but yes, the youngsters from Clarkston are housed in the new and expensive trailers on the Tucker Campus and taught by many of the same teachers they had at Clarkston. And when you drive in Atlanta and notice traffic congestion, remember: part of it is from the kids being moved to and from Clarkston and Tucker so that they will meet the provisions of the: No Child Left Behind legislation.
Oh, one last tidbit, the new students did not do particularly well on the AYP tests and Tucker High joined Clarkston as one of those schools that now need improvement. It failed to make it’s test criteria, after years of success.
I can’t make up stuff like this.
I am sure POGO would say: “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
Printed in the January 26, 2009 edition.