A tale of two school districts
Last week there as this passing headline: A $110 million upgrade at Mount Lebanon High School. Of note to Mount Lebanon taxpayers I suppose, but not much to notice elsewhere.
and then pick any recent headline being generated by the ongoing miasma of the Duquesne City School District where the state forced the high school to close and then forced neighboring school districts to take in the refugee students against their wishes. Think it was voluntary that the neighboring school districts took the kids in? See this recent headline: West Mifflin Area to sue for tuition reimbursement.
To be clearer, I guess the students are not refugees, since you typically need to cross an international border to be considered a refugee. So they are internally displaced students I suppose. Seriously, this does not happen elsewhere in the developed world writ large. Why is there not daily news/punditry on what is happening in Duquesne? Not the feel good story is my only hypothesis.
Nothing against Mount Lebanon making whatever investment it thinks it needs, but it is just shocking that everyone treats the ongoing implosion of the Duquesne City School District as normal at this point.
For all the talk of New Pittsburgh, realize that in most any other part of the country the city of Duquesne would not exist as a separate municipality, but instead would have been absorbed long long ago into the center city... i.e. Pittsburgh. So it is a geographic (and political) fiction to think of it as a distinct place from the city of Pittsburgh proper and it is certainly part of Pittsburgh writ large.
Maybe some ratio analysis to put the scale of this in perspective. Population under age 18 in Duquesne in 2010 = 1,513. For comparison population under 18 in Braddock (which gets to attend Woodland Hills schools anyway) was 605. So I guess we need 2.5 new restaurants to save Duquesne.
Nobody is talking of bringing a high school back to Duquesne. Greater talk is of the entire school district shutting down. Maybe other school Pennsylvania school districts can just close up shop and send all their students to wherever the state decrees they must be taken in. These other school districts typically fight against this, but have lost their legal actions to stop it from happening. Wilkinsburg is reported of late to be trying to send its students to neighborhing school districts, but have only been rebuffed outright.
Of course, Duquesne might be an extreme case, but not really far from the state of many Pennsylvania school districts, 500 in all. Thus what may be percolating at least in the Governor's office, if not in the state legislature. See the Washington Post today which prompted this little diatribe: Pa. schools are the nation’s most inequitable. The new governor wants to fix that.