Kudos to Angel and James for taking the initiative of submitting a video to this show to spotlight the deplorable conditions of the school. This new show manages to be both uplifting and emotional, while at the same time shedding a light on some rather disturbing things. In fact, the ‘School Pride’ crew uncovered a secret at Enterprise Middle School that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.
While ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ is inspirational in that it makes the living situation for one family so much better, even though many wind up selling or can’t afford the taxes, that’s one family. This is an entire group of kids, and potentially a few generations of kids. By renovating an entire school. you uplift a community. You improve the attitudes and performance of the teachers and students and you might galvanize a community to improve more of itself.
In that regard, this is a far more ambitious and promising premise for a show. It’s sad that it takes a show to do this sort of thing, but that’s the way our capitalistic society works. When Encore Construction agreed to do it, you know a big part of it was because of the tremendous positive press it would give them, and the potential for millions of Americans (including a likely huge audience in Compton, CA where it takes place) to see their company name. You can’t pay for that level of exposure and advertising.
So the bottom line is that if this show fails, then this program will fail and these companies won’t volunteer their time and resources to save failing schools in their community. The fact that this community could completely overhaul their middle school in ten days means it can be done across the country. But will it be done if cameras aren’t rolling?
How many kids in schools just like the one Angel and James lamented at the beginning of this episode will have to continue dealing with cracks on their basketball courts, collapsing ceilings and insufficient equipment and supplies.
But here’s where things got even more surprising in this story. The crew uncovered a huge storage room positively filled with the very supplies the teachers had been clamoring for. There were the whiteboards, bookshelves, cabinets, construction paper and everything else community tax dollars were paying for. Why did this principal hoard these items? Is this going on in other schools?
I’d be pissed if I was giving my tax money to support my local schools and my kids were getting shafted because they weren’t getting the very supplies we all paid for them to have. The show never gives an explanation beyond the principal’s claims that he was afraid they’d run out. A little fishy, as was the bit at the end about how he’d been replaced as principal. A lot of unanswered questions, and the biggest question of all. Now that this community has a newly renovated school, will they opt to continue supporting it?
In our community, tornadoes ripped through about nine years ago and destroyed much of the high school, middle school and damaged one of the two grade schools. Before this happened, it was a poor, small district teetering on the edge of being a failing district. But when the funds came in to fix the schools, they were modernized and upgraded at the same time.
Nine years later, our kids are graduating at higher rates, with better grades, more of them are going to college and there’s still more pride and support for this school system than there’d been for decades before the storm. Sometimes, all it takes is one moment to change the tide of a community. Maybe ‘School Pride’ is that momentum changer for Compton.