Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We are ALL Center Street / Valleyview / Riverside / Greater Plains

Here is a comment that was posted on my previous post here at parenthropology:

I like the idea of rallying the other schools, parents, citizens, etc. together to protect them all. Unfortunately, some of the opinions of parents of the other schools is very disappointing. They are under the assumption that if a school closes it will be Center Street, therefore won't affect them. Closing of any school will be devastating to the whole community, but people aren't seeing it that way!

I think this shows that we need a little (or a lot) of good, old-fashioned organizing.

I have embraced social media, but I also think we just need to talk to each other as parents and neighbors, and do our best to keep each other informed.

In fact, based on what I have heard the superintendent and others working with the board of education say previously, my understanding is that it is not obvious that Center Street would be the school to be closed. That impression holds from a previous move to close the school during the 1980s. However, at least three of the four elementary schools (not just Center Street) have had their ups and downs in enrollment also.

So, none of us is necessarily “safe.”

There is, unfortunately, a growing body of research on the impact of school closures. A recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that closing a school does not on its own close a budget gap. There are both the immediate costs of busing students, and the long-term effects on the local economy if / when community members lose their jobs, families move from the area, homes stand vacant, and properties lose their value. Nor will it prevent further cuts in school programs, much less restore cuts that already have been made in the past.

(Please see the links to research on my previous post, and share them with others. Also, please forward additional sources to me, so I can include them here.)

I think it is more than fair to ask: What actually will we gain from closing a school?

This is why I think it is important for parents at all four schools in our district not to see treat this as "Center Street's problem" – or let it become a contest to see some other school that is not their own fall. I am a Center Street parent, but I want just as much not to see a closure at Valleyview or Riverside or Greater Plains.

Or in the Unatego school district, for that matter. Which brings me to this:

Please consider attending to stand up for our neighbors and for our own city's schools.

1 comment:

  1. This NYT editorial from March 2011 illustrates the unequal distribution of cuts to schools in NYS: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/opinion/27sun1.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all