Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The mis-education of black/brown/poor students in Huntsville, AL Part 2

Johnson High news conference
Johnson High news conference
Huntsville Superintendent Casey Wardynski, center, and school board president Laurie McCaulley, right, listen Monday afternoon as Huntsville resident Carlos Mathews talks about the choosing of possible names for a new northwest Huntsville high school to replace Johnson High. Behind Mathews are pictures of astronauts Ronald McNair and Mae Carol Jemison, whose names may grace the new high school and a new junior high to be built on the same campus. (Crystal Bonvillian/

Sigh..... Here we go again.
What's in a name?  Military officer, turned School Superintendent,  Col. Casey Wardynski wants to create a new identity for J.O. Johnson High School  by changing it's  name, but I don't think Wardynski will be forced to  backtrack from the idea this time because the game is rigged. See photo above.

This is the prevailing sentiment of the commentators
 Change the name so the school and area can move forward.Johnson is one of the worst schools in the state for education and violence. A new name may not help because most could care less about getting an education but it's a start toward a new direction.
 Say you had a bagel business by the name Johnson's Bagels. It becomes known for failure, and needs to close. Any worthy consultant would immediately tell you the brand is dead; if you want to move forward, you HAVE to rebrand. Same with a school. It fails, rebrand, refresh, and try it again-- the right way.
 Grissom does not have a history of failure and crime!!!!! Most of those kids care about being educated and it shows because Grissom is always at the top in the state!!!!! Johnson has shown it does not care about education. The majority of those students do not care. We could take all the ones who do care and put them at other schools and take the students that don't care from all schools and put them under one roof!
 The new school needs a name change so that it won't be associated with the reputation of violence and educational failure at Johnson.

 Via the Keep Johnson High Schools name  Facebook group;
According to Ms. Jennings, he is not responsible for the name change. She said there is a "community group" who has proposed the change. I asked her what was the name of the group, but she said she did not know. She told me the reasoning behind the name change, which is exactly what Ms. McCaulley explained to me--running from the negative stigmatism J.O. Johnson currently holds. I explained to her that just because Johnson may be a failing school today does not mean that it will be a failing school tomorrow. In fact, Johnson has not been a failing school for most of its history. There is nothing that suggests it will forever be a failing school. In fact, the opposite holds true.

She suggested I write Dr. Wardynsai explaining this in an e-mail and she promised to share the with the "community group" before Nov. 7. But as far as she knows, the name change will in fact take place.
So now we know, it doesn't matter how many town hall meetings are held, or how many names are on a petition, the anonymous community group will win because the committee is stacked with people chosen by Wardynski (see photo above)
Both Showers and Harrison complained that none of the school board members, nor Wardynski, attended the meeting. Board president Laurie McCaulley, who represents Johnson High, told Alabama Media Group earlier Monday that she had not been invited.
Harrison said everyone was welcome at the meeting and pointed out Carlos Mathews in the crowd. Mathews is the chairman of the committee tasked with suggesting names for the new high school and junior high.
Harrison pointed out, however, that Mathews doesn't live in District 1, where Johnson is located.
"He didn't go to school in this district, either," one man yelled out from the audience.
New Rules, hand pick a committee giving the appearance of diverse viewpoints, while stacking the deck with people  in favor of your point of view and hope the people won't notice because after all, they are Johnson grads nod nod wink wink.   Wardynski isn't going to make the same  mistake twice.
 "There's been any number of councilman and officials call to inform me that I've made a gargantuan mistake," Wardynski said, to applause from the crowd that made him smile. "Thank you for acknowledging my mistake."
Does Wardynski honestly believe if he changes the location and name of a school he will get different results?  Maybe it's the fact Wardynksi is not a certified educator, or an experienced superintendent,  that prevents him keeps him from realizing it's not what name is on the outside of the building, it's about  what's happening inside the school building,  inside school board meetings,  and inside  the state legislature.

Alabama, by law, must now rank all public schools based on reading and math skills. It's the only way to determine which schools are "failing."
There was no such ranking system before the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013. No existing test provides a school-wide score to allow for ranking, especially between different grade levels.
Perhaps the community should change the identities of the Superintendent, the school board, and the state legislature  in order to increase student achievement and give students a bright future.

I'm just saying....

"When you talk about the law discriminating, the law granting a privilege here, and a right here and denying it there, that's a civil rights issue. And I can't take that away from anybody." - Rev. Joseph Lowery

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