Remember Harmony Community School?
They are the Cincinnati charter school the AG’s office has been trying to shut down since January because of “abject academic failure, gross financial mismanagement, ethical lapses, and what amounts to consumer fraud.”
Well it looks like Harmony is still operating and they are in the news again. This time they are planning to partner with Cricket Wireless to open “a cell phone store” in the school. The goal is “to teach students retail and entrepreneurial skills.”
Putting aside the fact that in 2001 Harmony planned to open a clothing store in the school but ditched the idea after “money and merchandise went missing”- I still think, in theory, it isn’t a bad idea to have high school students learn responsibility through work.
I’ve had a job ever since I was 14 and look how responsible I turned out! 😉
Anyway- the idea of a school-sponsored work program is good in theory but in practice this specific one is bound to fail. And here’s why…
1. The school itself is understaffed. They have a student teacher ratio of nearly 50/1. And unless the teachers, who are traditionally underpaid at charter schools, receive some sort of financial benefit from helping the students run the “store” – there will most assuredly be a lack of oversight leading to the same problems as before.
2. The school has proven that it can’t manage it’s own finances. How the hell do you expect the people who run it to teach students something they can’t even do themselves?
3. The school has a HORRIBLE record for graduating students. Having students work in a store instead of taking class is a great idea only AFTER YOU’VE TAUGHT THEM what they need to know to graduate. And taking time away from much needed class work is only going to make things worse.
4. The store they are planning to open will sell phones and phone service only to students of the school. “The general public would not be able to shop there.”
5. The hearing for the previously mentioned attorney general’s lawsuit against Harmony is set for July 14th. The school may very well be shut down before the program can start.