Norm's Notes that there are now 47 schools scheduled to be closed. That's forty seven schools that have been set up to fail, 47 schools that never stood a chance. I even saw an old favorite of mine, PS 277 in The Bronx targeted for closure. What a beautiful building it is. I think it was built around 1903, a time when education meant education for students, not for trying squeeze out a dollar.
So the crack team here at SBSB got to thinking. What can be done to prevent school closures? We brainstormed all weekend. Came up with many ideas, and many non ideas. We fought, we laughed, we even cried trying to come up with a solution. Finally, Herb mentioned how he used to watch Billy Crystal on Saturday Night Live back in the 80's. A light bulb popped over all our heads. Yes! Billy Crystal's character, Fernando, always said it was "Better to look good than to feel good." So using this phrase as our motivation we here at SBSB came up with ideas, which used all in conjunction with, will prevents schools in NYC from facing the dreaded threat of closure.
Of course this can and should be used as a primer to those principals, mainly the Leadership Academy grads that have no morals, ethics, or qualms about doing what is in their best interests, who will proliferate such schools that don't wish to be closed. Something tells us that though this might be an original idea, it might have been used before.
1. Have a really cool name. PS 55 or PS 491, or any PS with a number is not cool. It does not make a statement. Have a school name that implies something grand. "The Nautical School for Applied Life Sciences." Or, "Institute for Life Implicated Sciences." Or "Academy for Dignified Table Etiquette." Names like this show that your school truly stands for something and sets it apart from the other schools. Now mind you, this alone will not guarantee your school from not closing.
2. Involve Uncle Mike. Your school must have some kind of photo and/or video of Uncle Mike engaging in some sort of staged read aloud, ceremony, etc... with your school. Why? Because how can Uncle Mike allow a school to close if there is recorded proof that he has had an involvement with it? Think about it. Uncle Mike hates looking like a putz, would he not look like a putz being on record as praising it then it being closed. Just be ready to have a plaque made to hang in the school commemorating Uncle Mike's visit.
3. Money. Find some outside sucker, er I meant, person that is filthy rich, or a corporation that wants to look like it is doing good and get money, preferably one that has donated monies to Uncle Mike. This will get an influx of nice computers which will eventually be used as doorstops, but the school can brag it has the latest technology. Also, as mentioned in #2 photo opportunities are limitless with the filthy rich and the corporations as they assuage their white liberal guilt.
4. Hire young teachers from Teach For America. Yes, this is key. Schools are closed to be rid of those older, seasoned veterans of education. How can Uncle Mike close a school if the teaching staff is made up of young, single, elitist younglings who are so chock full of energy? Would Uncle Mike want to throw these kiddies out on the street before they can pad that resume for law school or business school? NO!
5. The only people of color in the school should be the students. This is key too! The entire staff, including secretaries, etc... should be white. This will show that they are doing the Lord's work and really truly care about the school and the neighborhood.
6. And lastly, cheat. This goes without saying, cheating on the tests is most important. Do whatever you can. Be creative. Be quick. But don't be sloppy and do cover your tracks. Remember, it is about having the perception of success. Not the reality. As long as those test scores are up Uncle Mike and Sock Puppet Walcott will shower you with praise. Praise will make you look good. Unfortunately, you might have trouble looking in the mirror at night. But who cares, you will be loved by all.
This advice is free and we here at SBSB will not charge a royalty for anyone that implements our "Avoidance to Closure" model.