It was gratifying to note that at least some parents, other residents and elected officials, along with teachers union leaders, staged a rally outside Miami Norland Senior High School in Miami Gardens on Monday to call attention to what, by all accounts, is a wholly unacceptable situation.
According to some accounts, the school district has not carried out any major upgrades at Norland Senior High in 30 years. Ms. Karen Aronowitz, president of United Teachers of Dade, says the smell of mold and mildew is instantly noticable on entering the building. “This can cause health problems. If students are out because of illness they can’t learn what they are supposed to learn,” she said. She is correct. Others say the roof is caving in. In short, the building is really uninhabitable and, in any case, definitely not conducive to teaching and learning.
The rally, which, the jobs-focused community based group One Miami spearheaded, was tied to President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act whose proposals include infrastructure works such as repairing school buildings. The demonstrators wanted to ensure that some of the money that would come to Miami-Dade County, if the measure is passed by Congress, would be earmarked for Norland Senior High. That is all well and good. But the conditions at Norland are so serious that renovating – or replacing – the school cannot wait on the whims of politicians in Washington. The school district must act now.
Mr. Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, showed great courage when he recently took on the state to prevent the closure of Miami Edison and Miami Central high schools. He should show the same courage now and ensure that Norland Senior High gets the attention the school needs. The time for waiting is over.