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Save Our Schools: The fight for Central and Edison results in one year reprieve



by Vanessa Woodard Byers


Florida’s Board of Education granted Miami Central High and Miami Edison High a reprieve for the upcoming school year and will allow them to remain open. Local school district officials and people in the communities encompassing those schools breathed a collective sigh of relief. Equally, if not more significant, is the Board’s promise to review its current school grading system.

Central and Edison have been down this road before. After the immediate sense of joy dissipates comes the realization that one more year is not a long time to turn things around based on current guidelines. What tactics will be deployed for students to realize more academic gains and better test results? Is it just a matter of more time needed to realize a real turnaround?

There are plans for an upcoming series of community forums. That strategy could be beneficial, but as quickly as possible, plans need to be developed and put into action that engage parents and the community in helping these students succeed. Students must also take personal responsibility and reduce or eliminate distractions that prevent them from reaching their academic potential. Less talk. More action.

It’s fish or cut bait for both Central and Edison. After the political powers that be succumbed to the wishes of the school district and community, another year of not meeting requirements, will effectively negate the argument against the Board of Education making the unpopular decision of either closing the school for a year; converting it to a charter school or allowing a management company to take them over.

I must commend the Central and Edison alumni association along with the Northwestern and Jackson alumni who were united in this fight. I really don't think the Board of Education wanted to deal with the number of people from Miami-Dade County who were prepared to travel to Tampa to speak on behalf of Central and Edison. Thank you to everyone who sent a letter, an e-mail or made a call to save our schools. 

In my heart of hearts, I believe our students can meet the requirements. A lot of work is required of everyone involved to make that happen. I also believe there should be more focus on making sure our children master the basic skills in the primary grades. Let’s make sure parents are aware what their children are expected to know when they “start” school. If a child starts behind, he will likely remain behind. We know better, let’s just DO better, for our children.



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