Thursday, May 08, 2008

Superintendent Pastorek, Please Report to the Planet Earth

From a Dept. of Education press release today:

The School has hired Dr. Alan Cohen, Medical Director and Founder of the National Deaf Academy, in Mount Dora, Florida. "Dr. Cohen is an expert in dealing with social and behavioral issues facing deaf and hard-of-hearing children," said Kenneth David, Director of the Louisiana School for the Deaf. "We're honored that he would work with us to improve how we serve our students."...

Also brought on board to assist is Dr. Cynthia Ashby, School Director of the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, and Dr. Reginald Redding, Director of the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf.

Superintendent Pastorek has scheduled a closed-door meeting this Tuesday with parents to receive their concerns and suggestions on how to provide the supervision needed at school and at home to improve student safety.

I must have missed the press releases announcing that Pastorek took behavioral and social problems in New Orleans schools seriously enough to hire 3 doctors (can't be cheap and is the statewide hiring freeze over?) and call a closed door meeting with parents here. I do, however, recall a friend who is a charter school principal expressing exasperation that staff were even more confused about how to help their special needs students (you know, including the hearing ones with behavior problems) after state education officials "explained" the special education process to them -- 3 months into the school year, I might add. Actually, that meeting made them aware of more barriers they'd have to cross to provide the federally mandated services that are alledgedly a civil right. Maybe if our public school students were deaf instead of just impoverished, abandoned, written off, and traumatized by exposure to violence and NOW by disaster too, Mr. Pastorek would do the same for them...

...instead of ridiculing our absurd concerns that the few kids who make it to 12th grade in N.O. are failing the exit exam by the busload.

He'd rather spend much more time on a scavenger hunt to find ethnic minority schools which actually aren't failing (notice not one of the 21 on the list is from Orleans, not even from a neighboring parish).

In February of this year, Mr. Pastorek was inspired by the doubts of a local elected official to find schools that served high minority/high poverty students and were achieving academic success. The Department of Education was able to identify 21 such schools...

It occurs to me that the top dog in state education, one who has really tried to find ways to help such schools, would have already identified most of the exceptions to the rule of the minority/poor failing school. To perhaps, I don't know, figure out how they defied the odds -- other by being located in the country (as if there's anything to do there besides studying).

As you can see, I've been watching this guy lately. I think he might be living in a parallel dimension...or perhaps on the verge of a break from reality.

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