Friday, May 26, 2006

School Closure Process Invalid

Let’s be clear. This is not a “citizen-led plan” (Seattle Times). CAC volunteers are community members, but they are working under the wrong criteria with unworkable constraints imposed by the district.

It is obvious that something is wrong with the school closure process when:

  • Schools are pitted against each other, fighting for decent buildings or even for survival.
  • The majority of schools slated for closure or consolidation are in the south end, lower income neighborhoods with mostly non-white children.
  • Schools with scores of parents at closure meetings (like Sacajewea) are cited as having low parent satisfaction.
  • Schools with beautiful, recently renovated buildings (like Graham Hill) are proposed to be left empty.

We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we can’t fix it that way either. We need to take the time necessary to come up with better ideas and solutions.

This closure plan does not come “from the people” (Seattle Times). It comes from 13 community volunteers selected by the district to provide a public face on the process, to make it more palatable to the community, and to sell everyone, including the press, on the idea that the process is valid, when it most certainly is not.