Published: Dec 08, 2012 12:00 AM
Modified: Dec 07, 2012 07:16 PM
On its website, the mission statement of the CHCCS is clearly stated for all to see: “To enable all students to acquire, through programs of excellence and fairness, the knowledge, skills, and insights necessary to live rewarding, productive lives in an ever-changing society.”
I am very appreciative of how the proposed plans for the new redistricting also include a comparison of the various plans on SES, “at risk” population, math and reading scores.
Using the data, we can clearly be guided on how to enable ALL students a solid education that allows programs of excellence and fairness.A slight inconvenience
The alternative proposed plans play around with trying to make things convenient families by not having them travel further to get to school.
But, folks, this is Chapel Hill and Carrboro! We are not Wake County, where students are sent 30 minutes away!
We’re talking about moving some families from commuting less than five minutes to having them commute less than 10 minutes.
The board will never please everyone by trying to make things the most convenient for people. Rather, the focus should be on what is in the best interest of the children in our small district. All the children.Consider the big picture
Not only will we never make everyone happy from a convenience standpoint, we also won’t make everyone happy if we look at isolated data points in the comparison chart.
Some school will always be the lowest on reading scores or math scores or the highest on “at risk” percentages.
We won’t achieve perfect equality, but we can do our best to make sure that no individual school is at a distinct disadvantage.
Wouldn’t minimizing the existence of outlying schools where one school in the district stands out more than others be the most fair place from which to start?
The elementary plans 1, 3, and 4 all have outlying schools where 36 percent or more of the population will be at risk. In Plan 2 this number is kept below one-third for all schools.
Plan 2 keeps the variability of math scores and SES at the lowest levels. Our current school structures have a couple schools with high “at risk” populations who struggle to meet the academic requirements on standardized tests.
Why would we intentionally re-create the same situation by keeping high populations of “at risk” and lower scoring families clustered in just a couple schools?
We all need to set aside our concerns about the personal inconvenience and resistance to change, and consider the broader picture. Here we have an opportunity to equalize the playing field by spreading out the families with varying levels of resources.Fairness for all
We will all benefit from having a school system where the entire mission statement can be realized: fairness for all.
Yes, it will mean some families will be slightly more inconvenienced by having to travel a few extra minutes (thank goodness for buses!).
But the greater good of the community will be served by selecting the plan that spreads the needs and resources across all schools.
As I tell my own children, it is often not easy to do the right thing. It will take a few extra minutes for many families, but selecting the plan that promotes the most equality is the right thing to do.