EDITORíS DESK: Pikeís little miracle

       There are stories and then there are stories, and occasionally there's one that touches the heart. I probably don't even need to tell you which one that is this issue. The looks on the proud young student faces on Page 1 say it all.
       I am hardly a social scientist, but I can think of few achievements more significant than helping children achieve their potential... and few actions (short of outright crime) more reprehensible than letting them slip away. We see the slipping so often that many of us seem to be numb to it. Generation after generation, thousands upon thousands of children virtually doomed, for lack of a good education, to adult lives of crime, failure, despair or, at the very best, the lowest tier of the Land of Plenty. Even in our own District 11 - did you see how bad the test scores were at East Middle School before they closed it?
       What I especially like about the Pike story is not just that it happened, but that it wasn't an accident. By all indications, Principal Manuel Ramsey is building an educational machine at the little school on Chestnut Avenue. Every child constantly accounted for, every nuance of every test score weighed, every possible learning remedy primed and ready for deployment. Plus, loyal staff, eager to follow the principal's lead.
       But let's be clear. Such scenarios are not whistled together. Now in his fourth year at Pike, Ramsey has taken a harder road than many principals - one that calls for tireless creativity, long effort, even pain - for example, people assume ineffective tenured teachers cannot be let go. Ramsey begs to differ: It just takes longer - maybe two years. But if your belief is that the children really do matter and that any child - no matter how poor or neglected at home - can learn if given a proper chance, then you tough it out and you keep building. Are other educators paying attention? We can only hope so.

- K.J.