NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I have some positive things and some not-so-positive things to say about the Storefront Learning Center, the alternative high school program in Wausau that has run out of money and is about to shut down.
First, it’s a very positive thing to help kids get through high school who’d otherwise drop out. And it’s unconscionable that the school might shut down before the school year is done. The community needs to come together to keep the school running so this year’s Seniors can earn their diplomas. When a school opens and enrolls students for the academic year, the minimum expectation is that it stay open until the year ends.
The newspaper has been running special profiles on Storefront Learning Center success stories. These are all cases that are worth celebrating.
Now, the not-so-good. Schools need economies of scale, and that doesn’t exist for a small storefront school. A few dozen students can’t have their own teachers (3 of them), their own building, curriculum and support staff to be financially viable.
There’s also a mixed message that we’re sending to these kids. All of us are expected, to some extent, to conform to society. We’ve created a school program that conforms to them. That may be a better alternative than having these students drop out or funk out of regular high school… but it’s also the last time in their lives that such a situation will be built around them. Beyond the Storefront Learning Center we expect these kids to do what everyone else does: wake up on time, go to work, obey the law, be productive members of society.
I hope students at Storefront Learning Center all graduate. But getting into the routine of a regular school, and having the skills to succeed there, are better lessons to learn in the year ahead.