"I wrapped up my teacher education degree in the late 80s. I did my student teaching at Webster and East Central. I was certified to teach Math, Biology, and Chemistry. I did some substitute teaching. Even at Madison once ... ONCE. All that is just so you know where I'm coming from. And yes, things have changed some since the late 80s and early 90s. But things were bad enough back then.
All this focus on the school system is misplaced. The problem is the students. Why do you suppose that suburban schools are better? Is the teacher gene pool somehow superior out there? Is it something about nasty old Tulsa that corrupts every school administrative staff? Some kind of evil academic demon that permeates Tulsa and refuses to be exorcised? Maybe we're in need of a No Demon Left Behind program.
No. Tulsa is becoming an inner city, and its student population is reflecting that fact. Schools can't make students learn. Schools can't make students do much of anything. It's not an issue of working with the TPS to improve the TPS. It's an issue of inner city students.
Sure, with enough money and well trained personnel, if brought to bear early enough in the child's life, a school system might be able to counteract some of the negative effects of a child being born to a section 8 troll. But there are a couple intractable problems.
One, in Tulsa, you have a city leadership and electorate more preoccupied with concocting another expensive and fanciful keeping up with the inter-city Joneses project to drain away maximum taxpayer funds. So, the TPS is never going to have enough money and personnel to reverse becoming an inner city school system. It's looking like the next opportunity to suck up every spare taxpayer dollar will be the renewed effort to fill the Arkansas river with low water dams. Boy, won't that make our public school system a model to be admired.
The second problem is government (i.e. taxpayer) financial support and encouragement of section 8 trolls having kids. Think about it. This society is more concerned with and has more laws restricting the circumstances into which dogs are born and raised than with the environment into which human children are born. Government passes laws to prevent irresponsible breeding of dogs, but financially rewards irresponsible breeding of humans. Maybe we should start keeping human children in kennels and send our dogs to school. We could bring in Cesar Millan for a special seminar.
The response to this mess of jacked up priorities is for rich folk to send their kids to private school while the middle class try to move outside the sphere of influence of section 8 trolls. In the meantime, one political party knows for whom those trolls vote. More trolls equals more votes for that party.
About your mention of Brady Heights. I have driven down North Denver at least three times per week for the last five years. For a while, it looked to be an area experiencing revival as some of the big, old houses were fixed up. Lately, the revival seems to have sputtered out, and I've noticed security doors appearing on some houses. If you get off Denver and look on N. Cheyenne or N. Boulder, I think you'll see very little revival.
The moral: Never underestimate the power of section 8 trolls to drag down a city and its public school system. They've taken down cities that were once far greater than Tulsa (Cleveland, St. Louis), and I predict they will take down Tulsa. But Tulsa will have a nice set of low water dams. Too bad we'll be living out in the 'burbs because I can't think of a sight more grand than a low water dam. Ah, I'll miss seeing the muddy Arkansas backed up behind a low water dam. I hope they print up some nice postcards."