United Clevelanders Against Poverty tackles concerns about k-8 schools

(Plain Press, December 2005) Is the transition from k-5 and middle schools to kindergarten to eighth grade schools working in the Cleveland Municipal School District?  Parents and concerned citizens that met on November15th at the May Dugan Center answered that question with a resounding “no”.  The occasion was the monthly meeting of United Clevelanders Against Poverty (UCAP), where the issue was placed on the meeting agenda because of the number of problems and concerns received from the community.

Parents and community members spoke of their experiences about Dunbar, Orchard and Almira schools, although noting that they did not feel the problem was limited to just these schools. These included serious disruptions in the schools,an increased level of suspensions, and 6th , 7th , and 8th graders made to feel unwelcome and an imposition on the school.  Stories were told of food fights, police being called to restore order and students being treated like prisoners in a jail.

Parent Diana King said that she felt the effort to control problem students was making other students feel like they were treated as second-class citizens.  But the overriding theme behind most concerns was that parents once again felt that they were not being heard.

Parent Lou Hruska told the group that a lack of parental input has existed in Cleveland Schools for sometime.  Others agreed and pointed out that the administration’s switch to k-8 schools was done without parental input.  

Another concern expressed was directed at parents who express dissatisfaction “but stay home and do nothing”.

Those who came out to the UCAP meeting did feel a problem existed and that something should be done.  They agreed overwhelming that they wanted to continue to meet around both the problems in the recently converted k-8 schools and the lack of input from parents and the rest of the community.

As a result the group scheduled a next meeting for Dec. 12th at May Dugan from 6 to 7:30 PM.  UCAP agreed to turn over most of the meeting to the school concerns.  All parents from any Cleveland School and all community members are invited to come, voice their concerns, and be part of a serious effort to address these problems.  As one parent said “let's see who is really concerned and who is satisfied with just complaining on the street”.


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