Lewis was even more adamant in discussions on Facebook about the post, writing to one questioner:
What you missed in my blog post is this: transferring out of your neighborhood school for any reason is NOT supporting your neighborhood school.Lewis has (very reasonably) been outspoken about the very high concentration of students from low-income families – as measured by free and reduced-price lunch (FRL) rates – in some schools, and in favor (very reasonably) of trying magnet schools as one way to help bring those numbers down. But if he wants magnet schools to work, why would he say that people who voluntarily transfer out of their designated attendance area “for any reason” are “NOT supporting [their] neighborhood school”? That’s not much of a recruiting technique.
It’s one thing to argue (as Lewis later did) that the district shouldn’t have funded the buses for SINA transfers. But why insist that voluntary transfers of any kind are inconsistent with supporting neighborhood schools? Even more confusingly, Lewis says that he supports the right of families to transfer out of SINA schools – “Unequivocally and without reserve.” Why? Doesn’t it substantially undermine efforts to reach the diversity goals? Didn’t it cause the very loss of enrollment that he’s upset about? He supports it, but he wanted the Hoover people to protest it? I’m lost.
I know a lot of people who are upset about the Hoover closure and about the possibility of closures in general. None of them, as far as I know, are against the idea of magnet schools as a possible way to bring down FRL disparities. None of them, as far as I know, think that boundaries should never be redrawn, or that we shouldn’t address FRL disparities among schools. What they want is for the district not to close and tear down an existing school without a compelling reason. I’m just not understanding why that triggers the response from Lewis that it does.
Cross-posted at the Iowa City Patch. Comments welcome on either site.