I would like to report that my scathing exposé on the dark, uninformative underbelly (i.e., websites) slithering beneath the hulking lizard (i.e., APS middle schools) has resulted in massive changes to both the underbelly and the entire lizard.
Such, I must report in a cold-blooded manner, has not been the case.
The websites still generally suck.
Cleveland's home page was last updated in October, 2008. Grant has a staff page featuring links to "online classes" that don't exist. The scourge that is "Professional Innovations" still shrouds Eisenhower and other "Heights" school sites that can afford to do much better. And yes, Harrison's page is still a blank, white screen of nothing, perhaps echoing the existential views of Sartre, or indicating the influence of Soto Zen thinking on being and nothingness. One can only hope.
And speaking of hope, there isn't much resulting from my quickie revisit to these websites.
They are not painful to revisit. Not really. It more like when you're from North Central Texas and you go back to North Central Texas after many, many years of avoiding the place, and you get there, and you go to some restaurant or bar or some such social gathering spot, and you hear the locals talk in that loud, Texas accent about this and that, and you immediately say to yourself, "Yup these are the same racist losers I remember being here 20 years ago". And you leave, and try to get back on I-20 West to get the Hell out of there as soon as humanly possible.
Revisiting these websites was kinda like that. Just a confirmation of what I'd remembered.
But there are lights at the end of the North Central Texas, lizard (armadillo if you're in Texas), APS website tunnel. Not every individual APS webpage is awful. There are pages like this, and this, and I'm sure there are many others that I'm simply not willing to drudge through internet muck to find.
And, in a shameless plug, there's also little online school newspapers that seem to be taking off a bit. We're not "winning teh Interwebs" or anything, but getting about 100 hits a day and putting out a steady diet of student written/edited stuff, and getting quite a few comments (darn nice ones without the usual "you suck, no you suck, Hitler" progression found in most internet comment threads.
It really can be done. It's really quite easy. Students want to do it. Their faces kinda light up when we "publish" something they wrote, even if we can't use their full names (privacy issues or something). Plus, it don't cost nothing.
Yeah, it really can be done. It just isn't. Scathing exposé or no scathing exposé.
Best evidence of this nothingness: the APS website itself. Still right up there with the ABQ Journal in the running for Worst Website Ever. Some time back APS posted new jobs for web developers to come in and move aps.edu into the 21st Century, but nothing's happened yet. Why? How long can it possibly take to come out with a website better than aps.edu? Sixty seconds? Thirty?
I guess a "glass half-full" person might say that it's good to know you can depend on some things in life. Racist Texans for one. Really bad APS websites for another. Strangely, I'm not seeing the glass half-full on either of those points. I must be one of those "glass half-empty" people.
P.S.: No, I am not equating having a bad website with being a racist. People/schools with bad websites are not inherently bad or evil. They are not equal to racists. Or even Texans. I'm just saying the feeling of revisiting had overtones of similarity.