If you aren’t reading Michael Tilley’s blog, you’re missing some of the best commentary out there on the facilities plan and other local school issues. Today he disputes the argument that equity requires all three high schools to have equal athletic and parking facilities, even if there is no connection to benefiting the students who are least well off, and even if it comes at the cost of closing a neighborhood elementary school, and even if we have to make other high schools’ facilities worse to achieve it (as I saw argued today on Facebook).
Michael is right that equalization at any cost is “equity run amok.” Moreover, it never seems to occur to some of City High’s “supporters” that City might actually have some advantages over West High and over the future new high school, and that some of those advantages might be related to its physical surroundings. After all, thousands of people freely choose to live in the area around City—because they like it. I live right next to City, and I love the neighborhoods around it. I like that City is easily walkable for so many people. I like its proximity to downtown. I like that City has an elementary school right next door. I like that the junior high is easily walkable from City. I’m not bothered by the fact that a few of City’s athletic facilities are located near the junior high; I think that has benefits for the neighborhood, too.
This is nothing against the west side or the North Corridor. Different people choose different things. But I chose the east side because I like it. If I were at West, I’d be envious of some of the things City has. What I don’t get is why some of City’s supporters are determined to see every difference between the two as a badge of inferiority. Why are they so sure that the balance of advantages and disadvantages always tips in West’s favor? And how does that stance help City High?