I am hanging out with all.things.fadra today on Stream of Consciousness Sunday.
“Final Bells for 49″
“Grief and Anger”
What does that mean? In a nutshell, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the closing of four high schools and closing and/or merging 45 elementary schools when the school year ends this June.
Citing drastically shrinking enrolments and escalating costs, the archdiocese said that this decision could save as much as $10 million a year. The announcement has caused palpable waves of despair.
The news coverage has been huge. Pages in the print and digital media have covered the impact on students, families, teachers, neighborhood. Not to mention proud alumni of these schools.
The Inquirer quoted teachers as lamenting “this is like a death.” Students of all ages have been photographed hugging and weeping. Parents are shell-shocked. You can just read their minds. How can this be happening?
I am not Catholic and was a public school kid myself. But it is not hard to understand the impact on families with the loss of these schools which, along with the parish church, served as the backbone of many neighborhoods. Anyone can relate to the helplessness of not being in charge of your own destiny. You have an expectation that your life will play out as planned, give or take some detours along the way. Education is one of those things that seems pretty well-scripted. It can be what you want, pretty much.
Eventually the dust will settle, the shock will settle into resignation. Students will be rerouted to other schools and make new friends. Life will go on. But the conviction that some things are forever will be shaken to its core.