Garrett Harris 5 p.m., Feb. 6
New "School-Work" Program Gives Kids Real-World Job Experience
[Teachers to students: "Help us help you!"]
BASEMENT FACTORY BENEATH LOGAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL THAT YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW EXISTED - Having already approved $114 million in cuts to his school district's budget, and faced with the prospect of cutting another $50 million, San Diego Unified Superintendent Bill Kowba knew that action was called for. And so action is exactly what he called for. "Instead of putting hundreds of teachers out of work," he explained, "I decided to put thousands of students into work. Here in what I like to call our Classroom Model Production Facility, students acquire the kind of skills that will give them a head start when they enter the workforce."
The choice of textile production was an easy one for Kowba. "The rise of companies like American Apparel - a company that has led the way in employing the very young - indicates a renewed interest in textiles manufactured right here in the USA. From weaving to dyeing to cutting to sewing, you can rest assured that every San Diego Schools-brand T-shirt you buy at Wal-Mart is 100% hometown-made. And best of all, five percent of every purchase goes to close the hole in the education budget!"
Kowba was quick to stress that "students learn along more traditional academic lines as well - after just two weeks here, a first grader can tell how many hours are left on his or her shift. Kindergartners know the difference between kelly green and chartreuse. And I even caught the sixth-graders whispering about profit-sharing - for a 12-year-old, that takes some pretty advanced statistical analysis. Bring on the standardized math testing."
"With SDS-brand clothing," concluded Kowba, "you won't just look good. You'll feel good, too. Because you're helping to make a difference in the life of a child."
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