Collaborating on a radical transformation of a troubled school like Sacramento High seems nearly impossible (see “The miseducation of Sac High,” page 18). Institutional barriers won’t come down easily, and a partnership between all stakeholders seems light-years away, as public meetings show that differences remain deep and wide.
At the heart of the matter is a pecking order for the participants, which gets in the way of collaboration. Just as the state can take over a school from a district, the school board bosses the school administration around, and the administration tries to push the teachers’ union around. Very little progress on reform is made.
Call me naïve (definitely not saint-like), but why not try a democracy through which each group has a vote? Isn’t the great value of education to further democratic principles?
But in the midst of the chaos of competing bureaucracies and budgets, which confronts education in California, even we can see the necessity of someone taking over a problem school and starting from scratch. The squabbling has gone on for years, and each key group has staked out a territory.
So, a radical solution may be needed, but caution is advised. If St. Hope Corp. brings its core values to the new charter school, will that mean that its Christian values come along? Change does not equal progress, and many questions need to be addressed before anyone turns a high school over to a nonprofit. The time for some further collaboration is now.