Monday, February 02, 2004

Mighty Bruce Blog Strikes Again

I've written before, though not enough, about my friend and colleague Marc Lefkowitz's astoundingly well done Hotel Bruce, which includes the Bruce Blog. While this region boasts a growing list of impressive blogs and other online media, written by serious writers and other thinkers, I'd be hard-pressed to think of another site that combines Bruce Blog's penchant for delivering smartly independent but often real breaking news with its parent Hotel Bruce's uniquely fresh take on establishing a new publication from the ground up. The site's own "about us" language says it all: "Hotel Bruce is a journal of creative living in Cleveland. We pay homage—to the era of three-cent streetcars, fast bars, vibrant neighborhoods, and creative characters—by looking at who’s itching to create a new chapter in our history." How about that for an arresting blend of old and new?

Anyway, this week Marc has once again outdone himself, by breaking a story about CSU housing guru Tom Bier's controversial comments to Future Heights about how much of the problem with Heights High is that 10% of its students don't value education. If you know anything at all about Cleveland Heights or its high school, you know at least two things: A). he's right on (in fact, his estimate is perhaps a bit low), and B). politically correct Cleveland Heights has a way of screaming so loudly in reaction to hard racially charged truths it doesn't want to hear as to all but drown them out (only their deafness won't stop continuing white flight).

Similar outrage was registered by the usual suspects a few years ago after the talented Diana Tittle wrote an illuminating book about Heights High and its polarized, supercharged environment ("Welcome to Heights High: the Crippling Politics of Restructuring America's Public Schools"). I got to experience at first hand what that shrill drown-out-the-bad-news anger felt like when I wrote admiringly of Tittle's book (and truth be told, took a few potshots at the PC Heights lefty crowd) in the Free Times, then headquartered in the middle of Ground Central, along Coventry Road.

Only this time, it will be even more difficult for the suburb's PC libs to ignore this hard truth, since it's delivered by one of their own. For years, Bier has been a widely followed guru who has laid much of the theoretical and statistical groundwork for those battling white flight in this region (in fact, Marc is at this very moment pursuing a master's in urban planning at CSU's Urban School, where he's no doubt being exposed to much of Bier's body of work). It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds. You can check the comment board at Future Heights to read some of the comments, or perhaps to add your own.


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