Sunday, August 25, 2019

Public and Personal

The Superintendent has released his plan for redistricting. It’s a comprehensive plan that addresses both overcrowding and issues of de facto segregation in our schools. This is the beginning. A time for public response will follow. The Board of Education will work with the Superintendent’s plan while taking into account community input and their own knowledge and judgement. 

That’s the process.

Truth in advertising: I have no children left in the schools so my opinion is, necessarily, different than that of someone whose children stand to be moved. So take it with a grain of salt, if you will. 

So far my response to the plan is hopeful. I imagine there are some bits here and there that may have to be tweaked. But I do think that we are long overdue for redistricting and that this plan attempts to meet some important goals for the system as a whole. 

Of course it is human nature to feel change in a very personal way. How will this plan affect me, my child, my immediate neighborhood? Change can be difficult and even frightening. Some responses to the plan are angry. When you make decisions that will impact people’s children, you have to expect some pushback. 

One particular online response from a Howard County parent struck me yesterday. I am sharing it here with permission. Many thanks to Ginnie Gick for allowing me to bring her words to a wider audience.

Not that anyone asked my opinion, but here are a few thoughts I have about this process.  And, by no means, am I minimizing the inconveniences or actual challenges that some may suffer from changing schools, however...

1) VERY few people want to change schools.  Most people LOVE the school they’re in and don’t want to leave it.  Which means that EVERY SCHOOL IS LOVABLE.  What makes our schools  exemplary is the commitment and involvement of the families, the students and the staff.  

2) Please don’t make the mistake of generalizing or stereotyping people from any particular school.  Everyone from XX school does not feel the same as a vocal minority.  No school is made of all elitists or racists or whatever.  Some people actually welcome any new students who enter our doors, and hope the same will be done for our children if they go to a different school.

3) Children are resilient and take their cues from their parents.  If you don’t freak out, neither will they.  And they won’t experience nearly the level of anxiety that they could if you’re able to take it in stride and teach them that change is a normal part of life that they will have to deal with and adjust to.

Again... just my thoughts.  Go ahead and pile on and pummel me, because that’s what we do now.  I just prefer to take a positive approach to this process and try to help my son make it through as easily as possible.

Wow. There it is. “Every school is lovable.” If there were to be a rallying cry for the changes we’re facing right now, that would surely be it. I can even imagine it on t-shirts.

Who knows? It could be coming to a polygon near you.

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