Sunday, February 3, 2013

School board finds a backbone when it wants to

Our school district’s proposed diversity policy would require the district to balance out the disparities in the number of low-income families at each school, using a child’s receipt of “free and reduced lunches” as a proxy for low income. Last week, though, the state of Iowa informed the district that the policy’s use of free-and-reduced-lunch data would be illegal. “Please revise the Diversity Plan to remove all reference to the free or reduced eligibility status,” the state’s letter concluded.

A majority of the board, however, has apparently decided to go ahead with the policy anyway.

I’m not in favor of the proposed diversity policy, for the reasons I stated here. But I can’t help but be encouraged by any sign of rebelliousness by the board against state intervention in its policies. You go, school board! Now, when the district claims that state mandates leave it no choice but to squeeze lunch and recess to the bare minimum, and to inflict behaviorist obedience training on all the kids, and to subordinate all educational values to the task of raising standardized test scores, I’ll know what precedent to cite.


Shannon Severance. said...

I once had lunch at a house on lakeside property, complete with dock. The owner said he loved insurance, he blamed his homeowner's insurance as the source of the "No!" when people asked to use his dock.

Really that's all the board is doing here, blaming a far away "them" for the board's refusal to insist on humane lunchtimes.

Chris said...

Shannon -- I think that's largely true, though I don't want to let the state and the feds off the hook either, since I think they shape the environment in which the district makes these decisions.