Cumberland Times-News

Letters

October 12, 2013

Two high schools are justified

I read with interest two letters from former area residents lamenting the decision to build a new Allegany High School.

Both writers indicated that our community should consolidate Allegany and Fort Hill because of declining enrollment and the idea that one large high school would be cheaper to operate.

Neither writer lives in Allegany County; neither seems aware of the fact that our school population has, in fact, stabilized.

Nor do they seem to understand that operating a large high school in a jurisdiction that is among the poorest in Maryland would cost the community dearly through the higher dropout rates and increased rates of school violence that often occur in large schools with high poverty numbers.

The decision to maintain the two existing high schools was not made lightly. A consultant was engaged and a committee of community members created to look at every possible scenario.

This committee, on which I served, did a great deal of research on ideal school size, the impact of school size on low income populations, and the costs involved in maintaining two smaller schools versus one large school.

The football game between the two schools, referenced by one writer as the driving force behind the decision made, did not play a role in this process.

What did play a role was the well documented impact of large high schools on poor communities.

Large high schools, such as the “super school” of 1,500 suggested by the letter writers, tend to work well in wealthy districts.

They do not work well, however, in areas such as Allegany County, where many of the children live at or near poverty level.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, large high schools serving large pools of low income students have disproportionately lower achievement levels and higher incidences of violence than small schools serving similar populations.

In addition, students in smaller schools — defined as having fewer than 900 students — tend to be more satisfied, more academically productive, more likely to participate in school activities, better behaved, and less likely to drop out than students in large schools.

Students in smaller schools also tend to feel safer, more nurtured, and more connected to caring adults, while teachers in smaller schools feel they have more opportunity to know and support their students.

Finally, while small schools typically have a higher per student cost than large schools, they actually have a lower cost per graduate, because they have lower dropout rates.

The high dropout rate found in large schools, most especially in poor communities, creates a higher societal cost overall. High school dropouts are more likely to commit crimes, abuse drugs and alcohol, and become teenage parents.

The issues surrounding the future of our city high schools were thoroughly examined.

The community was encouraged to contribute; public comments were taken, both verbally and in writing.

The vast majority of those choosing to participate supported maintaining our current school configuration, based largely on information regarding school size as well as experiences some residents have had with large schools in other areas.

The committee ultimately recommended maintaining the two city high schools, a recommendation adopted by the Allegany County Board of Education.

It was the right decision for the children in our community, and for the community overall.

Kimi-Scott McGreevy

Cumberland

1
Text Only
Letters
  • Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place

    At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
    The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.

    April 20, 2014

  • Celebrate Earth Day every day: Reduce, reuse and recycle

    April 1 marked the beginning of April Envi- ronmental Education Month in Maryland — and with Earth Day coming up on April 22, Maryland has much to celebrate.

    April 20, 2014

  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • Which approach to the school makes sense?

    What exactly is the long-range plan, according to the Allegany County Commissioners?
    I’ve read in the Cumberland Times-News that the current County Commissioners intend to spend $9 million to construct a new high school.

    April 16, 2014

  • H.O.G. Rally coming to Cumberland in June

    Let me introduce myself. My name is Francine Kraft and I am the Maryland/Delaware State H.O.G. Rally Coordinator for 2014.
    With a team of seven others, we have put together a rally for June 19-22 to be held in Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Access to trout ponds hard for those who have trouble walking

    I took my 5-year-old grandson Easton, who lives in Cumberland, to the Evitts Creek three ponds on March 31, the day it was stocked with trout.He had the joy and excitement of catching his first trout and two more. I have a Maryland fishing license and trout stamp.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wait long enough; they will die off without being cared for

    The letter to the editor of April 14 (“Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.”),  I am afraid, hit the nail on the head — sort of — about this next set of returning veterans.

    April 16, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads