The Problems at AHS: A Creature of the GASD and Administration's Own Making

Apparently the local apathy and disengagement from the administration of the school district may be evaporating given this evolving story on the level of fear and intimidation at the high school. ( DA issues a “get tough” policy for AHS students)
You cannot read this story without wondering exactly how did things get to this point?
It’s quite simple really.
The prevailing community mindset in the community does not center on academic outcomes or experiences. Instead, the overwhelming focus and priority of the community centers on protecting institutional interests and ostensibly “protecting taxpayers”.
The story itself illustrates how the protection of the institution matters more than the protection of student and academic interests:

“We expect our law enforcement personnel to investigate and prosecute fully any time a law may have been broken,” Perillo said in a prepared statement. “I am not sure why the DA’s office thinks we need a ‘get tough’ policy to accomplish that.

Get it? How dare others start to intervene in a matter mismanaged and ignored under the current administration.
From an institutional perspective, you can see precisely how the administration and the GASD Board fall short of their responsibilities to parents and students. The only reason this comes to light is not because the administration elevated the issue or the board members challenged the administration given the very , very clear metrics on the scope of the issue. No, it’s simply because a student spoke up and basically said what is undoubtedly more than clear to students, faculty and administrators.
As is typical, the administration never accepts responsibility , as in this case, given their claim that they lack the resources. This is pure rubbish. They have all the metrics they need to make a very public argument for the resources to address the problem before the problem reached this level. However, they chose not to. And they happened to get called on it.
If students and academics were indeed the priority, why did the administration not publicly make a case to the board on the urgent need for resources and the nature of the problem? Why was no public case made for resources given the very real consequences and negative impacts on student performance and learning? They have the numbers for a pretty compelling case.
That answer is simple too: the administration and board will not advocate nor fight for academic resources as that runs counter to “protecting taxpayers”. Just ask yourself the last time you heard the administration actually advocate and fight for academic resources that dared challenge the local community to provide the resources necessary.
This lack of advocacy and push by the board is nothing new however; indeed, it is precisely what the community wants. While the community might express outrage over the goings on, they certainly care not for academic results or academic experiences — they only care that as little money gets spent as possible regardless of the outcomes. Like everything else in the city, it is never about maximizing the returns of what we spend, rather it is minimize what we spend no matter the returns.
It is precisely this perverse economic thinking that prizes the perception of spending as little as possible believing that in the end, this will get you get you great outcomes. This is the delusion of protecting taxpayers when the administration and board are doing anything but. How are you protecting taxpayers when you are literally scaring off any home buyer or investor when they read what actually is going in the district? That argument has zero credibility yet somehow a wide swathe of the community cherishes that belief and thinking.
To make this very basic economic claim is practically heresy here. Because if this claim is accepted, then it would mean that the prevailing mindset here and their practitioners in the administration and elected school boards would be held to some level of accountability for outcomes. But that would upset the status-quo and it would upset “the way we do things here” and the desire to protect the vested institutional interests and institutional players. Even worse, it would mean accepting that “the way we do things here” really does not work and may in fact, be the very reason that we are not moving forward at all.
And this is not happenstance. This is all quite deliberate from a policy and administrative perspective.
How can you be surprised that there are issues at the high school when the GASD and administration implemented policies that increased class sizes? How is it a surprise when the GASD , faced with elementary school performance, adopted a lottery and magnet school model that did nothing to address academics and discipline , merely shuffle students about the city into more crowded class rooms? How is it a surprise that the discipline problems allowed to fester as a result of larger class sizes and fewer teacher resources at the elementary schools now present themselves years later?
I don’t want to overstate things as smaller class sizes and more resources would not necessarily solve 100 percent of the issues, but clearly such policies and programs may have prevented the degree of the issues today.
Maybe “the way we do things here” is the precise reason why we find ourselves in this situation.
But admitting that requires some acceptance of accountability and some desire to change things.
And that will never happen.
Better to keep failing than changing.  And better never to be held accountable.
 

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