Robert Pondiscio writes movingly about a school that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
PS 333 was a Core Knowledge school, exemplary in many respects.
It was unprotected from the ferocity of the storm surge.
It had 578 students before the storm. It has 30 or so now, and they have been relocated to a school more than an hour and a half away.
The principal is distraught, while the city administration pretends that what matters most is to get back to the routines of preparing for the next test:
With the loss of instructional time, the lack of continuity, and the disruption wrought by Sandy, [principal Angela] Logan fears it will be a lost school year for many of her children, most of whom can ill afford it. “How do you hold them accountable to sit there and learn when [the children are thinking] ‘I don’t have a house. When I go back home it’s freezing cold?’ Those kids are going to suffer,” she says. Even after the all-clear is given and the school safe to occupy, there’s no way to know how many students will return. Some, perhaps most of the low-income families served by Logan’s school, will simply melt into the neighborhoods to which they’ve moved. The scale of the dislocation is immense: P.S. 333 is one of 11 schools in the Rockaways put out of commission by Sandy, and the smallest of them. “No one’s talking about that right now. What’s the reality for the kids that were on that Peninsula?” She doesn’t know.
Logan is openly frustrated with city officials trying to give the impression that things are getting back to normal in New York City’s schools. “You want to make it look good, but you’re not thinking about these kids,” she says. That said, New York City is relocating more schools than Oklahoma City or Portland, Oregon has in total.