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Letter: Bad schools must be closed


Re: Shaun Black’s August 24 column “Bad strategy to close bad schools”: This may be well-meaning, but it is also misguided.

Over 50 years ago, I attended one of those elementary schools that would rank in the bottom 5 percent. The excuses for the poor performance back then were many: the children in the area were too poor, there were too many immigrants, the students did not care enough, the parents were not involved enough, the school did not have enough resources, etc.

None of those things were actually true. As a sixth grader, I heard all the excuses but I also saw that no one did anything to improve the school’s performance. I went to my parents and asked them to make a huge sacrifice and send me to a local Catholic School for the 7th grade. They went into debt to send me there even though that particular school was a bargain and they were already paying taxes for my public school education.

Even though I was one of the highest achievers ever at that public school (I received several awards for academics), the nuns at the Catholic school recommended that I be held back two years since experience had shown them that students from my school vastly under-performed. They were right, and I was a full two years behind my classmates even though I had achieved straight-A’s at the public school. It took me another two years of studying virtually every night to catch up with my classmates.

It should take a lot to close a school, and we should not take that action likely. But after too many years of under performance, we must think of all the kids who went to an under performing school who suffered a terrible education.

I was fortunate and my parents sacrificed, but others aren’t so lucky.

Gary Radtke, Brighton