By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Would you like your school to teach its students clear persuasive writing? That’s not such an obvious question, since so many school have reduced writing to the status of an afterthought. But Powers Catholic High School in Flint Michigan knows how grow and groom clear and persuasive writers. A good example of a Powers writer is Dylan Hernandez whose open letter to President Trump was published in the Wall St. Journal. It is published below in its entirety. I interviewed Powers Principal Sally Bartos about how Powers does it.
Ms. Bartos said that writing is a fundamental part of each subject discipline. Whether the class is English, history, science or math, writing is required. In science, the student might journal some research, in political science the student might be required to develop s persuasive argument as Mr. Hernandez does so successfully.
Ms. Bartos said that Powers builds from a traditional Catholic approach to education but is flexible in adopting programs to fit the students body of about 660 young people. She said that Powers offers an honors humanities program that strongly resembles a traditional classic form of education that includes study of ancient Greek writing, and immersion in Western thought. Of course, since Powers is a Catholic Diocesan school, the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and other great Catholic thinks are studied.
Powers Catholic High School is justifiably proud of Mr. Hernandez who will doubtless go far in life. I hope he realizes his ambition of meeting with President Trump and making a deal with him to improve the City of Flint Michigan. If he does get that invitation to the White House, Principal Bartos assured me that he’d be wearing his Powers Catholic school sweater. And I hope he brings one for President Trump.
DYLAN HERNANDEZ Wall Street Journal
Mr. President, last month I heard you pledge that “neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.” Please make Flint your urban-renewal flagship, where your policies demonstrate the hope, safety and opportunity you promise.
Flint faces the same abandonment, crime, blight, troubled schools, unemployment and infrastructure issues found in many major metropolitan areas. But its population of fewer than 100,000 makes a swift turnaround easier than in larger, more complex cities like Detroit or Chicago.
You were on the mark when you said leaders have “ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities.” According to Stanford research, Flint sixth-graders are more than two grade levels behind where they should be and some four levels behind sixth-graders in nearby Oakland County. Two weeks ago, one of the two remaining public high schools canceled athletics for the year due to lack of funding. The two high schools will likely consolidate this fall in a decaying 1959 building.
Even with its bruises, I love this town and intend to return after college. Flint is home to talented, modest, resilient people and pockets of optimism that make it fertile ground for federal initiatives and investment.
While Flint still has an award-winning plant making Chevy and GMC pickup trucks, the city has lost more than 70,000 factory jobs, forcing it to develop other fields including higher education and health care. It is home to a University of Michigan campus, Kettering University (one of America’s best engineering colleges), Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, and Mott Community College. Flint also has three hospitals and Diplomat, the nation’s largest independent specialty pharmacy. There is also an active $3 billion in philanthropy headquartered here, which works with the nonprofit Uptown Reinvestment Corp. to revitalize the downtown, university and cultural areas.
Mr. President, you could transform Flint in record time, maybe even before the midterm election. You could encourage companies to bring manufacturing back. You could employ those who are perpetually unemployed to rid the city of litter and blight, a simple idea based on broken-windows theory that the mayor of Albuquerque, N.M., successfully deployed.
Flint is one of the most dangerous cities in the country—the most dangerous per capita from 2010-12, according to the FBI. In 2012 the city had 122 police officers, down from 265 five years earlier. You could help make the city safer through federal funding to hire more police officers.
In 2016 one in 14 houses in Flint was vacant. With funding such as Hardest Hit grants, the city could tear down abandoned structures at a faster pace.
You could improve education by providing money to build a consolidated public high-school and middle-school campus. The young could also benefit from more funds for weekend and summer science and math outreach.
Mr. Trump, if you’d like to discuss this over meatloaf, my spring break is April 1-11. The White House or Mar-a-Lago?