Thursday, April 23, 2015

FCPS Redistricting Highlighted School Inequities

It always does...

And perhaps it is a measure of just how few ideas there are (or how little the public is willing to support) for overcoming those inequities when we get excited about the gift of a garden bench as an encouraging example of what can be done. It's the right motivation, and a kind gesture, but little else. This is not a gap-closing strategy.

Both preschool and individualized instruction are sound ideas. They are also expensive.

This from the Herald-Leader:
One consequence of the redistricting process, as Fayette school board member Daryl Love observed, is that it "unmasked problems."
It even awakened some parents to disadvantages faced by other people's children. The budding "sister school" partnership between Athens-Chilesburg and Yates elementary schools is an especially encouraging example.
Seventy-five percent of the students at Yates are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches, compared to 20 percent six miles away at Athens-Chilesburg. The difference would become even more extreme under the redistricting proposal.
Not surprisingly, the Athens-Chilesburg parents have more time to volunteer and more money to put into enrichment activities, such as travel, for their children's school.
They've decided to share some of that time, energy and money with Yates. A garden bench, made from recycled plastic that students and parents from both schools collected, is a tangible example that Yates students already are enjoying; more joint ventures are in the pipeline.
The redistricting committee encouraged other schools to strike up such partnerships.
Other recommendations from the committee would be more expensive and complicated to accomplish but would go a long way toward creating what the committee called "an equitable educational opportunity for all children within our school district."
Two stand out:
■ Full-time preschool in or near high-poverty schools and ensuring a spot in pre-school to every 4-year-old who is eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
■ Ensuring that low-performing, high-poverty schools have enough teachers to zoom in and provide individualized instruction to children struggling below grade level.
The redistricting committee also recommended making Bryan Station High School's information technology program a magnet and putting an arts magnet program at Crawford Middle School. Magnet status confers district-provided transportation. Bryan Station and Crawford have the highest concentrations of poverty at their levels.
The 23 committee members spent a year — 36 meetings, according to one member — immersed in the demographics of the Fayette County Public Schools.
Their ideas deserve consideration. Unmasking problems only helps if you're then willing to face up to them.
ead more here:

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