What caught my eye in the article is this:
Crucially, the question remains unanswered as to how many families will pull their children out of Seattle Public Schools if their schools are closed or they are forced to move from one to another against their will. Two years ago when seven schools were closed, 20 percent of the students directly affected disappeared from the district. So far, Goodloe-Johnson and her staff haven’t offered any estimates of what might happen this time — even though an enrollment drop of 200 to 300 students would wipe out all the short and long term savings projected from the closure plan. There’s no evidence yet that the seven-member school board is worried, or even curious, about this number.In a separate string here, Trish Millines Dziko, a respected public school advocate in our region, says her family is leaving Seattle for Vashon Island, weary of the endless transitions and changes made by the district, often without clear goals.
Even if your school is not directly impacted by the latest plan, the continual turmoil can be stressful and downright exhausting, eventually eroding your trust in the district.
Heck, maybe I'll challenge both Trish and Charlie, and say that the real issue is not choice and it's not quality. No, the real issue is trust, which requires clear commitment, stability, rational decision-making and responsiveness. When was the last time you felt like our district was stable, with everything under control?
Until we have trust, we'll never believe it when the district says schools have improved, no matter how much money or fanfare they pump into struggling buildings (think SE initiative).
If parents trusted the district, they might be able to swallow the explanation that the APP split and other program moves will improve student learning, instead of expecting to find ulterior motives.
If the district trusted us, they would really listen to what we wanted, whether it be traditional math, middle school IB, whatever, and they'd bring us on as partners in building it. To be truthful, I feel like I'm seeing glimmers of this now, but don't yet trust that the district is intentionally changing in this direction.
If trust existed between the district and familes, the notion of "forcing" families to attend neighborhood schools as a way to improve schools would be laughed at as absurd.
Which brings me back to Dick Lilly's question. Unfortunately for the district, they cannot force you to send your kid to one of their schools. There are many options, including private schools, parochial schools, neighboring districts, virtual school and homeschool. I know Seattle families who've gone every one of these routes.
Let's discuss the question that the district won't ask: Is your family sticking with SPS for the 2009-10 school year? What about the next time your kid hits a transition point (i.e. middle school or high school)?