The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board majority could not be deterred when indisputable evidence of academic decline, impaired security, higher dropout rates and higher costs were presented to them as consequences of consolidation.
Largely, the public felt helpless, mumbled quietly, and allowed the ill-conceived, ever-changing, obsolete “plan” to rumble forward.
The board was also warned that consolidation meant less participation. When activity after school is crucial to keep urban kids off the meanest streets we’ve ever had, this board effectively has said, “So what? not our problem,” as they move the schools out of the city.
However, that has now hit many people where they “live,” sports and clubs, and there is finally more passionate resistance to what’s being done. While everyone should have been alarmed to date and fighting a plan that finds no support in the educational literature for 40 years, it’s time to line up an say no through SOS membership, the newspapers, emails and letters to the board, and by insisting on a referendum.
Sports and clubs are important. Sometimes they keep an immature or indifferent student in school, which changes his/her life. The opportunities for teamwork, learning discipline, taking care of your body, performing under pressure, time management, dealing with fatigue, and incomparable camaraderie are being taken from numerous children through consolidation at the very time kids need these the most.
It is being done for the prospect of “big time” sports success and more victories under the cynical guise of increased opportunity, when just the opposite is the case.