The PI carried an op-ed this morning by James Bible and Phyllis Beaumonte, both of the NAACP. It makes some fairly inflammatory statements and bases them on review of the closure process, its criteria and the data. (I would provide a link but can't find it at the PI website; I'll check again later.) To wit:
"The Seattle King Country NAACP is opposed to Johnson's school closure plan because it is likely to disproportionately affect children of color, the poor and students with learning disabilities. "
So it has been argued here about minority and disadvantaged children and the movement of Special Ed programs has also been discussed but did anyone find evidence that more students with learning disabilities will be affected? (I'm not sure if they mean versus regular ed popular or versus other closures?)
"Now that we have concluded our analysis, we have reached the position that this school district purposely has decided that some children are of value while others should be left behind."
That's a pretty hot statement. Based on their analysis, district staff's decisions are not only affecting minority/poor children but it was done on purpose? That these closures are to help some children and hurt others?
They say that the district should use the rainy day fund because this is a time of crisis economically. There's a point for discussion with the district. If the budget crisis is so bad, why not use some of the rainy day fund (but leave a cushion)?
They try to make the point about how much more money Dr. Goodloe-Johnson makes compared to Mayor Nickels ($264,000 versus $150,000) and how much more she made than Raj Manhas ($178,000). They say her salary is out of touch with our market and our state but fail to understand that superintendents aren't elected (not usually) and free-market rules apply. She would get that much almost anywhere else.
They rightly argue about creating the assignment plan before closures. But then they explain that we are likely to go to a neighborhood plan and if areas with high numbers of students have no school because of closures, where will they go? I'm not sure the district or anyone else for that matter, can say what will happen under a neighborhood assignment plan. Will it attract back people who want that kind of predictability? Will it drive others to private school?
They do end with an interesting proposition; that an outside agency such as the US Department of Education or the state should review the district's plan to make sure all children are treated equally. I'm not sure I believe it's possible to document all children being treated equally; in closures it's much more about equity than equality.
The NAACP has previously said they might file a lawsuit which is a standard line they use frequently.