There was one point, made towards the end, that echoed the problems at Madrona K-8. Here it is:
"When Olszewski's daughter entered kindergarten last fall, white students made up 13 percent of the school's population — more than in recent memory.
When she runs into people on the street and they ask her where her daughter attends school, she says she now hears: "Oh, I've heard some great things about Muir."
The demographic changes have raised concerns and fears among at least a few of Muir's nonwhite parents that their families may be marginalized.
Scott, for example, welcomes Olszewski's efforts to improve Muir's image but worries that the school's outreach efforts are too focused on Mount Baker, leaving out areas such as Hillman City and Columbia City, where more black and Asian families live.
"All those things that drew me to the school, everybody in the school's boundaries needs to know about them," she said.
Kimbrough (until recently Muir's PTA president) says the school needs to address those tensions now, before they grow.
Muir, she said, has the opportunity to be a model for how schools can have constructive conversations about ethnic, religious and economic diversity.
Principal Thompson, who is white, is sensitive to such feelings. She says she works to make sure the message is that Mount Baker parents want to join in, not take over.
"This is a big enough school to accommodate our whole neighborhood," she said. "It's not 'Take back our school.' "
Olszewski says she doesn't want the ethnic mix of the school to change substantially either. She wants a neighborhood school with all the racial diversity in its neighborhood."Okay, so I'll ask the tough question out loud; do parents of color fear/dislike/worry if a school that is largely minority students start getting more white students (and their parents)? Or, let's flip that; what if, say Ballard, became 40% minority and all those students' parents showed up at the PTA meeting with new ideas or focuses?
Is there such a fundamental difference in what parents want for their children academically or is it more an issue of what happens culturally at a school? Is a it power play - someone worrying about someone else "taking over" (whatever that means)? Why would having more white students at a largely minority school "marginalize" minority families?
(I'm also a little disturbed at the idea that schools are supposed to (1) be the melting pot that society isn't and (2) that schools have anything to do with religious diversity. For the former, that's a lot of pressure besides, say, educating a population of students and for the latter, religion should have little to do with the school.)