Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gazette article

Andrew Phillips has a good article about my school board candidacy in the Gazette today, but one part of our discussion was cut short in a way that I think really changed the meaning. Here is his question and my answer:
What’s your position on how (or if) the district should attempt to balance student demographics between schools, including by moving students through boundary changes?

My sense is that most families (whether rich, poor, or in between) strongly value being able to attend a nearby school if there is one. I do not think there is sufficient public support for boundary plans that send kids to schools much farther from their homes when there is a school close by. More importantly, I do not think that such plans are favored even by their intended beneficiaries—economically struggling families. (If they were, that would weigh heavily in my evaluation of them.)

Where there is no nearby school, or when there is more than one nearby school, there can be opportunities to use redistricting (which has to occur, since new schools are opening) to prevent a situation where there are some “rich schools” and some “poor schools.” There may also be other creative possibilities (sister schools?) toward that end. But I think we need to recognize that there are limits to what redistricting can do to address the problems of poverty and income inequality, and try to make sure that we can give kids the best education we can, wherever they are.
I certainly did not mean to suggest that we should throw up our hands about addressing the problem of poverty as it affects kids in our schools. In fact, I think there is a lot of good will in the community toward finding ways to direct the district’s resources to the kids who need it most, and that that should be a priority.

1 comment:

pooter said...

Thanks for the clarification, Chris, but I didn't read it with a negative slant at all. I think you're being sensitive.Scott