Imagine if academic goals were driving the decisions about what facilities to close and which school programs to merge!
Citywide, we could be discussing whether APP students should be in one building together, or whether having APP programs in each cluster would improve the quality of neighborhood schools. We could talk about whether more K-8 programs would help with the issues facing middle school students. We could share ideas about the role of alternative schools in the Seattle school district and talk about the creation of more schools with language immersion programs. We could debate how to address the growing segregation across the district, both racial and economic, and discuss how the proposed changes to transportation and choice may create further divisions.
Instead, we are discussing which buildings to close --- who wins and who loses, and what budgetary factors (capital costs, hope for state funding) are pushing those decisions.
I want the closure plan to be scaled back. I want the district to use better data and a better process for decision-making. But today, what I want most is to get beyond this closure process and start working on some of the big picture topics, with the goal of academic excellence for all continually in our sights.
I just hope the closure decisions don't cripple the district's ability to make necessary changes to reach that goal.