Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not Doing the Cause any Favors

The excising of Daughter's middle school is likely not going to be easy on most folks associated with the school nor those at the remaining two middle schools. There is little to be proactively done. What more can I say then what I already said at the meeting held with parents at the soon-to-be-defunct middle school? The superintendent and school board members played oh-so-sympathetic and understanding, right down to the superintendent making little puppy dog eyes when she responded to a father's comment that it's just not fair. "Oh, I know," she said, little frown lines, pouty lips and caring face appearing.

But it occurred to me that this is just a precursor to the real fight the district wants: the fight to change Youngest's elementary school from a by-lottery one to a neighborhood one. Right about this time last year, that was one of the battle cries from those who don't have kids attending Youngest's school. And I waded into the fray fast and furiously, on the one hand dealing with morons, upset with me calling the neighborhood school a loser one, who tried to hide in anonymity but realizing too late that there ain't no such thing. On the other hand? Dealing with folks at the lottery school less-than-pleased with me for equally moronic reasons, ones having to do with not really doing the cause any favors.

Oh, gosh, I hope I don't upset anyone again.

I sent an email to the by-lottery's PTA folks yesterday:

It occurs to me, 36 hours after the MIDDLE SCHOOL parent meeting and following discussions with several non-LOTTERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL parents (including some with board insight and media types), that there is likely to be one heck of an end-run around LOTTERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’s special status. Tasked with re-drawing all of the boundaries – elementary, middle AND high – and ensuring the pathing of elementary to middle to high occurs, the district will be able to make the recommendation to eliminate LOTTERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’s special status. Really, how can anyone expect them to keep that status? Since SUPERINTENDENT was also charged with responding back to the Board with less warm-and-fuzzy platitudes about “equity,” she can re-draw the boundaries that sends LOTTERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL back to a neighborhood school, answering the equity issue and tying it all up with a tight little bow that says, “If LOTTERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL doesn’t accept it, they’ll be to blame for all those poor middle schoolers not knowing where they will be attending school next year.”

Those with kids at LOTTERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL right now will breathe a sigh of relief if their only concern is their current student and siblings. The Board (and SUPERINTENDENT) already committed publically to grandfathering in all existing students and their siblings.

If you’re looking to keep LOTTERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL as a choice school beyond your own children’s stay here, I’m thinking you’d better get to work in the next two weeks.
I'm going to make a projection. I'm going to guess that the lottery school falls to the wayside. In the end, much as we may like to say otherwise, all but the most saintly among us care first and foremost what happens to our own children. Told our kids will get to continue on as they are, how many are going to keep up the fight for those who come after them?
As important? Comments such as this one on the local newspaper's website:
...The decision to close was based on declining enrollments -- both MIDDLE SCHOOLS have been operating at far less than capacity. Full schools are more efficient and allow for programs to be more evenly distributed. Closing a school is never an easy decision, but we need to make the best use of our resources to offer the best quality education to all of our students.
"Closing a school is never an easy decision, but we need to make the best use of our resources to offer the best quality education to all of our students."
"Best" to "all."
I'm thinking the person who made this comment online, a parent of a student at the lottery elementary school with no kids in middle school yet, is going to rue those choice of words. Particularly when arguing to keep the elementary school a by-lottery one.
Not doing the cause any favors, indeed.

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