Come over and sit by me

A server at a restaurant this morning apologized after relating a series of disturbing bits of intelligence about the Red Schools of Duluth. I told her not to worry as she should think of me as Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Of course I then had to explain who Alice was.

Alice was President Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter and she was a handfull. TR once told someone who was admoninshing him to do a better job supervising her that he could either be President of the United States or manage Alice but he could not do both.

Alice couldn’t run for President herself but she could remain a pain in the District of Colombia’s neck by marrying a much older and powerful man. That she did, Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth who’s name remains on one of three House Office Buildings next to the Capitol.

In her later years Alice alternately charmed and irritated Washington Society by among other things hosting soires. She had a pillow in her living room/salon which had a message in needlepoint. “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody…” it began, “Then come over and sit by me.”

So what did I hear that made it necessary for me to disabuse my server that I didn’t want to hear terrible stories about the School District? Well, since no one dares say anything bad about our schools lest they create an even greater stampede away from them I’ll share them with you. Think of me as Alice. I figure stampede be damned. We’ll never fix anything if we only sweep the dirt under the rug and keep reelecting the nincompoops who gave us the Red Plan.

It seems that classes reach 38 at Denfeld. A great many of the incoming ninth graders can barely read and write. They come from all over the District so its a sign, if its true, that in recent Red Plan years teachers have not had their act together. With classes of 38 that’s no surprise.

Some of Denfeld’s pricey smartboards stopped functioning and teachers were prohibited from using old technology like overhead projectors in their classes to take their place. No chalkboards are around anymore and whiteboards (to replace blackboards) are scarce.

There have been fights. The teacher who these third-hand reports come from has been teaching many years and reportedly never kicked a kid out of class till recently. Now it is a daily experience.

For Goodness Sake! Let’s not investigate this. If we do we might confirm the rumors. Fortunately with the Duluth News Tribune as our default newspaper we can all take it for granted that we will remain in the dark.

Of course, the longer we deny the existance of problems JCI will be able to skate away with its (our) money and reputation. That would be too bad because the other rumors involve their handiwork.

The smartboard failure is just one problem. We are in the middle of our first winter and the Denfeld heating system is problematic. You can no longer open windows to get fresh air or cool off an overheated room and the rooms are not all that comfortable. Also antifreeze from JCI’s high tech HVAC system leaked down walls at Denfeld causing damage to equipment in the classrooms.

As I said I’m just like Alice and these are just third-hand rumors but if they are true I want my money back.

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