Saturday, May 26, 2007

One More Museum

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" – Mark Twain
English High School in Boston, Massachusetts and St. Agnes High School in St. Paul, Minnesota are two very different schools. English was founded in 1821 as the first public high school in the USA. St. Agnes is a Catholic high school founded in 1938.
But the differences go well beyond the years they were founded. Today English is one of the worst performing schools in Massachusetts according to a recent Associated Press (AP) article. However instead of closing the school as the private sector would close a poorly performing factory the State of Massachusetts is moving to salvage English. School Superintendent Michael Contompasis is quoted saying, "I would have closed English if it wasn't English," meaning that due to this school's significance as the first public school it remains open despite its terrible performance. So taxpayers will be forced (even longer) to go on supporting this failing institution. St. Agnes on the other hand, is a private school that simply had financial challenges but after the school held a fundraising event and two major donors contributed money they raised a total of $3.3 million in PRIVATE NOT GOVERNMENT donations!!
No where in the AP article did I see anyone mentioned who WILLINGLY wrote a check to keep English High School operating -- instead it will survive via forced donations which are better known as tax dollars. When the public is allowed to "vote" with their own money they (in this case anyway) they support something like St. Agnes which they have a strong affinity for versus a failing public school. Instead of "saving" English we should convert it into a museum that would symbolize a past chapter in American history.
Taxpayers, students, and teachers are not well served by keeping English High School operating as a school today.

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