POTTSTOWN PA – As with so many other hot-button issues, the debate over a proposal to create grade-grouped educational centers at Pottsgrove School District elementary schools as a way to address classroom overcrowding and teaching efficiency has taken both sides to Facebook.
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Opponents and advocates of what is called the “centers model,” under consideration in Pottsgrove, this week both announced they created pages on the world’s most popular social media platform to distribute information to similarly minded district residents.
The district is wrestling with how it can best reduce and balance class sizes at its three elementary schools: Lower Pottsgrove, West Pottsgrove, and Ringing Rocks. One proposal would redraw attendance boundaries for each school; a second would reconfigure grades at the schools to create two kindergarten through second grade centers, and a 3-5 center.
The first Board of School Directors’ meeting at which the public was allowed to comment on either proposal was held Tuesday (Dec. 6), with a substantial number of about 200 in attendance voicing opposition to a centers plan. On Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 7 and 8), two new Facebook pages arose to address the topic.
Rabinowitz offers several informational links to studies that refute the centers concept or point to its problems. So far, however, the majority of posts there consist primarily of supportive comments from other members. Demonstrating community opposition to the proposal is a goal, he noted: “… We need our (membership) numbers to get over 600, I think to send a clear message!,” he wrote in a comment on the page.
In a comment on the page, O’Brien noted she is not out to change minds, but inform them. “We are here for informational purposes only for BOTH options,” she wrote. “What you decide is up to you only.” To that end, she has posted links to eight different studies or external websites, most of which support the centers concept or purported gains from some of its use. She also has allowed links to data from visitors with opposing views.
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