Heard on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:
Hartford Connecticut is poor. Two years ago, it’s kids scored among the lowest in the nation on performance tests. Connecticut also has some of the richest communities in the country. As a result, the state has the widest performance gap of all the states among its students.
One district in Hartford did a massive overhaul of its schools. With no new money, it redesigned its systems to include 4 separate ‘academies’ within each school. The campus that was profiled had the Freshman Academy, the Law Academy, the Green Academy and the Nursing Academy. Except for the Freshman Academy which serves as an introduction to high school, each provides the basic high school curriculum as well as focusing on its own core area of study. For the first time in a long, long time, 2008/2009’s test scores began moving upward.
The kids who were interviewed by the NewsHour reporter sang the praises of their school saying that, for the first time, they believe they have a shot at attending college.
When the stimulus came along, the 4 principals of the school were elated. They intended to hire a school nurse, a counselor, a health teacher, a math teacher as well as raising salaries across the school in order to entice better teachers to come to their system.
I believe any reasonable person can agree—an increase in college attendance and graduation would, more than almost any other development, serve to bring Connecticut [or any other state] out of its economic doldrums and jump-start the economy. It’s too bad the governor of Connecticut cannot be counted among the reasonable people of the world.
True to form, Jodi Rell cut all programs the stimulus would affect by the exact amount of the expected infusion from the Federal Government. What do you want to bet she refunded $300.00 to each of her constituents?
Goodbye, new money—hello, status quo. And so long, prospects of bringing in new teachers, raising salaries, adding support staff. In other words, so much for creating new jobs. Gee, thanks, Governor Rell.
I guess she’s looking out for her and her neighbor’s kids. After all—we can’t have just any riff-raff in those poor towns going to good schools and getting into college. What if the rich children can't get into those good schools because their poorer counterparts make better grades than they do? And, what will those rich kids do for jobs in such an Alice-In- Wonderland world?
Of course, another possibility is that this Republican Governor has joined forces with Rush Limbaugh and simply wants the stimulus to fail. To hell with the country, to hell with her own kids' future if we can see to it that Obama falls flat on his face and we can elect Sarah Palin in 2012.