A proposal has been put before the school board that would add a new comprehensive high school. I am dismayed by this proposal. I attended two of the brainstorming sessions for the new school, and what I heard was:
Sound off on the important issues at
1. Don't divide the community.
2. Make high school work for the 35 percent of kids that are dropping out.
This proposal accomplishes neither of these goals. Instead it dilutes class choices by 50 percent for the 65 percent of kids that are succeeding in high school at Juneau-Douglas High School.
Already offerings for foreign language, music, art, shop and other electives, as well as advanced and advanced placement classes are limited at JDHS. How will teachers be divided for the two schools? (Remember, we don't get money for more teachers.) Will kids have to pick their school based on which has advanced band or AP biology depending on which teacher is placed at which school?
The 35 percent of kids that the current school isn't working for need classes that specifically address criteria for diploma. They need community mentoring and apprentice programs that give students individual attention, a sense of value to the community and insight into various work options after high school.
At one recent planning meeting the Next Generation group talked about "ripping off the Band-Aid as quickly as possible" to divide the schools. Let's think outside the box and go for less pain and more gain.