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Unappreciated McLain by Dan Keating

September 27, 2012

That about sums up Tulsa’s red-headed step child.  For years Tulsa Public School administrations have assumed “these people” can’t make it so why waste valuable resources on changing anything.

Fifteen years ago when the school wanted to start a golf program then TPS Superintendent John Thompson responded by sending over used left handed clubs.  Dr. Thompson was also Tulsa’s first black superintendent.

If you visit the school be prepared to be impressed.  The drive on Peoria is wide and un-crowded.

Walking into the school one passes unused security machines.  There are two fully manned security stations at Memorial and Edison High Schools.  Now, with as the Tulsa World says, “Conditions at McLain in Flux,” the security maybe operational, but in past years it was not required.

The school is also clean with no graffiti.  There is an indoor golf range for McLain’s All-State golf teams.

So what went wrong?  McLain which is a 4-A school had around 800 students.  Test scores are not good, but teachers were loyal and dedicated then came the outsiders.

The state of Oklahoma wanted higher scores.  TPS yawned.  The trick was how to get them.

The McLain neighborhood routinely sends students across Tulsa to East Central, Rogers and Hale and others.  This has worked well because of capacity problems.  McLain is only so big.  Some clever person decided that if those students at other schools could be forced to return overall test scores might just go up.

So transfers were cancelled and 300 not 160 as reported more students returned.  TPS knew what would happen.  No new teachers, no desks and an air conditioning system which conked out.

Any administrative moron could foresee trouble.  Most of those returning students were perfectly happy where they were.  Those students who played sports at other schools may not be eligible to suit up at McLain.

And so McLain lives up to its negative press mostly conjured up by inept adults, who care not a wit for the students.

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