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Thursday, February 28, 2008

I don't think so

KSTP.com - Controversial school board plan:

"A failed levy and now race is at the center of a school district’s controversy."
I don't think race is such the deal as it is that the ALL of the schools closing are in the side of the district which is scoring well on state tests, and the parents have higher incomes (paying more taxes)
So the question is, if the school board shifted the kids on the east side of town (where the scores are low) to the west side of town (where scores are high), would the issue be the same?
I think that the problem the parents are having has more to do with a concern that their kids will be getting the shorter end of the stick because they will be getting placed into the schools where they may not get the same teaching levels. So instead of keeping the 'good' teaching staff, the schools that are doing great...they are keeping the schools with issues.
If you really want to see what the plan is, open the .pdf of the proposal...they are closing the only elementary in Osseo, in the Osseo school district!! How stupid is that!

It sounds to me like the school board is the one having the racial issues...feeling that if they bring up the white populations that the struggling schools will be able to pass the state standards and get off the watch list for academic-probation.
Look....I'm a child of bussing. When I was growing up they forced it upon us....it didn't work...in fact it caused more harm than good....not just academically but socially as well.
Academically the kids will go towards the mean...which mean that while yes it will pull up the kids having issues, it will bring down the kids who were doing great before...it also means that more kids will be left out of the equation as the teachers will either teach to the middle (leaving out the really smart kids and those needing extra help) or they will teach to the lower fringe (leaving out the kids doing well and those doing great) or teachers will try to hit everyone and miss them all.
Socially, the kids will make friends that they will only see at school; friends who will live too far from their house to play with on vacations or weekends.

The nice thing about neighborhood schools is that (a)they feel like a second home to the kids (b)friendships started in school can be kindled on the weekends (c) teachers/parents grow very close to each other (d)there is more respect for the school on a whole because it is part of the communtity.
(e)parents get to know one another, they learn to work things out in a civil manner because they are the neighbor's you see everyday.

But the part that really concerns me? the fact that the school board wants to sell land.
We had a very simular thing happen in the school district I grew up in...they sold my old high school because they said that there weren't enough kids in the boundries to keep it...the parent's said, no just lease it....they sold it. Less than 10 yrs later the district found that they had seriously underestimated the number of kids that would stay in the district and they needed to buy land and build a new school!

Here's an idea....you have a school which has to be heated 24 hrs a day, even during vacations....salaries have to be paid, facilities kept up during this same period. How about leasing out the facilities at night to local community colleges for teaching night courses? how about continueing education classes? how about ESL classes after school instead of during...and at a cost?

If you read the plan you will find that they are talking about student fees too, but it will come out that those receiving reduced/free lunches will be exempt from them--which again will shift the weight to those parents on the west-side of the district.

If you read the surveys....some of them are even stupider....like the parent who thinks that parents should supply toilet paper to the schools. My SIL has this in her district...they have to supply t.p. and kleenes, yet they have money to spend on fancy dancy digital projectors to work with their new computers. Its sickening.

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