I wonder if Elmhurst parents and students would feel better or worse if theirs weren't the only high school being considered for closing. We can all be happy, though, that we're better off here than in Kansas City:
Superintendent John Covington called for the closing or consolidation of almost half of the schools in the Kansas City, Missouri, school district, and a school board voted Wednesday to approve the downsizing.
[. . .]
Covington proposed the "Right-Size" plan arguing that the financial future of the entire school district was at stake. The plan shutters 28 of Kansas City's 61 public schools, cuts 700 jobs and saves $50 million to help reduce a burgeoning deficit.
[. . .]
Covington said the closures were the first phase of "right-sizing" a district where enrollments have plummeted from more than 35,000 in the 1999-2000 school year to about 17,000 in 2009-10.
Closing almost half the schools doesn't seem all that draconian for a system that has lost more than half its students. One resident complained that this "blighting of the urban core is scandalous and shameful." But, really, what the school system is doing is in response to the blighting -- and the fleeing -- that's already taken place.
Meanwhile, back at central planning central: Since the nation's founding, decentralized education has been the norm. Having local control of schools is one of the most important things a community should fight for. I've devoted a lot of time and editorial space over the years to fighting back any encroachment by state and federal bureaucrats, and I've sought and printed opnions from many others on the subect. Looks like we've been fighting a lost cause. The momentum given to the push for national standards by George Bush's No Child Left Behind, a task happily carried on by Barack Obama's Race to the Top, has brought us to this moment:
A panel of educators convened by the nation's governors and state school superintendents proposed a uniform set of academic standards on Wednesday, laying out their vision for what all the nation's public school children should learn in math and English, year by year, from kindergarten to high school graduation.
[. . .]
The new standards are likely to touch off a vast effort to rewrite textbooks, train teachers and produce appropriate tests, if a critical mass of states adopts them in coming months, as seems likely.
[. . .]
Alaska and Texas are the only states that declined to participate in the standards-writing effort. In keeping his state out, Gov. Rick Perry argued that only Texans should decide what children there learn.
And so it begins. Cheers for Rick Perry for speaking up for his state. Apparently we've given up here.