I am writing to call Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to shield high poverty schools from these budget cuts. It is challenging to write this because, in order to prove the importance of this move, some may feel the need to hear about what communities lack. I want to focus on the assets of our community and school: the ways we are strong, resilient, complex and creative, rather than what individuals or groups in our community don’t have. Beacon Hill International School is a vibrant, hardworking community committed to learning, growing and critical thinking.I agree with the premise of shielding high-poverty schools from severe cuts. But what would that cut-off F/RL number be - 50%? 60% 70%?
No school and no child should suffer from the economic turmoil of the proposed budget cuts. And, if SPS spreads the budget cuts “equally” across all schools, there are some schools where the children will suffer more. At schools like Beacon Hill, the majority of children and families live in financial insecurity*, speak languages other than English, and live at the whim of immigration law. These factors can contribute to complex trauma, which among other detrimental effects, can make it harder to learn. School communities that support children who face these challenges should not have to endure equal budget cuts, while other communities with more protective factors can weather cuts with less detrimental long term impact.
One of the key protective factors for people with complex trauma is stable positive relationships. The theme of the district-wide racial equity training this year was positive relationships. Each of the students described above has special positive relationships with adults in the school that help them do their best and learn each day. These are exactly the people whose jobs are at stake in this budget crisis.
While all school communities have children facing challenges, Title 1 schools face higher concentrations of students living with the complex traumas of poverty, racism, and insecurity. We need to prioritize and shield them from budget cuts, which means asking some schools to take larger cuts.
Please join me in making your voice heard, email your school board member at schoolboard@petition, translations: Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese by Friday, 6 January. to ask them to protect high poverty schools, and sign the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition’s
I would also advocate asking the City for help until funding gets stabilized.