You are right Ms. Cheers, only the higher socioeconomic students in our district deserve good facilities. The east side schools have state of the art facilities; gyms, auditoriums, theatrical stages for performances and assemblies. No one questions that these students deserve it. On the other hand, schools on the west side have "renovated" 50 year old buildings. The bond money paid for air conditioning, windows and paint, but it does not compare. West side students still eat lunch in the rain or hot sun. They have no auditoriiums for assemblies, so they line up aluminum benches outside in front of a microphone. yet you and the author have the audacity to begrudge them a stage? $20,000 seems fiscally responsble in comparison. I will also address the t shirts for students. CPM didn't invent this. I have heard of inner city schools all over the US that do the same. Why? When you are labeled a "failure" for years, that label sticks. You can move mountains and increase test scores, yet people refuse to believe. They hold on to the old label. People just like you respond, "they are improving? That can't be true. It must be fraud. They must be cheating." This is a very typical response. Improving acadmics is not enough to turn a school around. You also have to change culture and community perceptions. To do this you must recognize effort and celebrate. Students who once were embarrassed of their school, now wear their school t shirts proudly, in and out of school for the entire community to see. Change is slow, especially when you have to fight the stereotypes you promote. I have confidence however, that schools like CPM will prevail. We cannot go back to the status quo where you are satisfied with failing schools, and leaving generations of kids behind, as long as you don't spend money on a stage. Do them a favor and let them shine a bit. They don't need your kind of support.
I'm afraid the enduring values of journalism are shifting in the digital age. What happened to the norms of objectivity? The bias in this "article" is blatant. Most reputable news directors would provide clear standards for their reporters, like NAME YOUR SOURCES. Anonymous sources were used twice to support the reporter's claim, in efforts to discredit. There are guidelines for naming sources for a reason and this reporting was woefully short of professional.
I am mostly sad however, because this attack is the reason why it is so hard and almost impossible to change the lives of poor inner-city children. They go to older dilapidated schools. They have horrible attendance, they fail and they drop out. But intellectuals respond, "Poor kids, they have an excuse to fail, we don't want to hold them accountable, so we will continue with the status quo and do nothing differently." We say we want change, but when someone has the courage to actually do something, you go after him. "Why is he spending money on painting the school? Why is he celebrating? These kids shouldn't feel a sense of pride, they are nobodies!" This is nothing new. Granger Junior High was once the lowest performing school where the gangsters were the ones that were admired. We used this exact model to turn granger around. We used tough love and expected the best. We painted the school, cleaned up the graffiti and bought banners. After a while students started to believe in themselves. They were proud to be Granger Griffins. They liked going to school. How sad that this reporter and the anonymous sources are trying to block a great transformation. They won't win. The parents and community will rally around the team of leaders and teachers at CPM who believe in them. Good luck CPM!
In what world are you living in where the US secretary of Education comes to visit a school and it's not an event? And since when is the event not about Mr. Duncan and the kids? Because a stage is being purchased? Because the superintendent of the district of the school that is being visited is involved? Should he not be there, showing his "ass"? Would that really make sense? Does that make it "not" about the kids? And isn't it common practice for nearly all schools to give tee shirts to their students all year long, multipIe times? So how would this event not be worthy of tee shirts? You must be a special kind of stupid...or maybe, just maybe, you have an agenda. And as far as "can't we have events without drama", oh my, are you delusional? YOU ARE the one causing drama. Shame on you.
I will not be politically correct and say this article is full of errors or misleading. I'm going to state exactly what it is: A shameful and pathetic article full of lies and deceit. The Reader should be embarrassed that it printed this. That school began undergoing a facelift last year...LAST YEAR, with the college banners and positive slogans painted along the walls. The solar panels are a Sweetwater District initiative that nearly ALL the schools are undertaking. All one has to do is drive by a Sweetwater District school and you'll most likely see the panels in the parking lot area. To suggest Castle Park Middle School is installing these panels and undergoing a facelift in anticipation off this visit is simply a shameful lie. And since when is it wrong to spend tax payer money on making a school look nicer. Hello, that's part of what the money is for. Amazing, people complain about how the "west Chula Vista" schools are old, ugly, and neglected in comparison to the east side, needing to have money spent on them and then when money is spent to make them look nicer, people complain about why the money is being spent. Incredible. Poor Castle Park and that principal. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. This article is clearly part of a smear campaign and for the Reader to be so off with its "fact checking" is a disgrace to journalism. Someone needs to take the Reader to task.
If anyone has been paying attention, the changes going on at CPM have been in the works for the past year...college banners, fresh paint, and an overall upgrade to the look and feel of the school help to create an uplifting and inspiring atmosphere to learn in, and a school kids (and the community) are proud of. This article seems to imply that all of this is simply a show for Arnie Duncan...whose visit wasn't even scheduled until roughly 6 weeks ago.
This article is an exercise in taking a handful of facts, personal bias, and a bad attitude to spin another negative story that does nothing but rile people up. Funny that the first parent who responds (someone ACTUALLY involved and trusting her children to this school) has nothing but great things to say about the RESULTS. And isn't that what really matters?
My youngest of 3 is in 8th grade and is doing great at this school. I have noticed a big difference at CPM for my son. My other two children did not like the school when they went to CPM. We really like the teachers and the staff. The school is clean and the new paint makes our community proud. I think these people writing negative things about our school would rather see money being spent at an east side school? Kids at Castle Park deserve this.
Dorian Hargrove 2:30 p.m., March 7
Don Bauder 1:30 p.m., March 7
O.B. James 1 p.m., March 7
Matthew Lickona 1 p.m., March 7
Austin Mackin 11 a.m., March 7
Dave Rice 10:30 a.m., March 7
Ian Pike 10 a.m., March 7
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