Indiana-based artist Tasha Lewis transforms the Conservatory’s gallery with thousands of magnetic cyanotype butterflies printed on cotton fabric. Her blue butterflies hover in mid-air and seem to swarm the space, blurring the connection between the natural and artificial worlds.
As the school year draws to a close, the future of the Columbus City School district is being shaped in part by federal and state education policies, and by the economic and social well-being of the city’s neighborhoods, WOSU’s Mandie Trimble and Tom Borgerding conclude the series, Fewer Students, Higher Stakes.
In the 1950′s and 60s about 3,000 new students entered Columbus Public Schools every year. Now, 3,000 students are asking for their transcripts. And many of them are taking them and school education dollars to publicly funded, privately run charter schools. This week, WOSU 820 is looking at why Columbus Public Schools has lost half its students during the past three decades.
In the past generation, enrollment in the Columbus Public Schools has been cut in half. The steep drop in student numbers has prompted the school board to close 18 school buildings during the last 4 years. Two more elementaries will close in two weeks when the current school year ends. WOSU News reports on the Linden area neighborhood in its week-long series, Fewer Students, Higher Stakes.
In recent years, Columbus Public Schools and other big-city districts have been forced to confront declining enrollments, growing poverty, and changes in federal education policies. Superintendent Gene Harris outlined the big picture at a public hearing earlier this year. “We still have 56,000 students in 130 school buildings.” But those figures represent a decline of 10,000 students since 1999 and the downward trend is projected to continue next fall.
From the time the baby boomers started school in 1952, an average of 3,300 new students entered the system each year. Shortly after the last of that generation began kindergarten, enrollment got on a downward slope and it never got off. During the early 1970s the school system reached its peak enrollment with almost 111,000 students. But a decade later nearly 40 percent had left.