David's Blog

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Avoiding a Fall at the Finish Line: a Call to Action

Led by the District's superintendent and consummate leader, Keith Dixon, ISD#709 is bringing to a close the most comprehensive, inclusive and supportable planning effort ever accomplished by the District. Yet, when the plan was officially presented to the Duluth School Board for consideration two weeks ago, there were community members who rose to speak in opposition to the plan which advocates a transition from three to two high schools.

Those opposing the two-high school plan voiced their concern that the proposed boundaries between the proposed schools would deepen the disparity between students from high and low income families. In addition, some listeners predicted an increase of tension among students of varied racial backgrounds. School Board members, as well as the superintendent, were - and will continue to be - sensitive to these issues. In addition, the Chamber's leadership has asked school board members to openly address such fears while simultaneously proceeding with an endorsement of the present plan of action. This constitutes a leadership opportunity for the School Board and calls for decisiveness in word and action.

The present plan offers too many gains to be allowed to stall in its final hour. For the first time in several years, students and their parents could have a long-range view of the education available to Duluth's student population. Moreover, the action taken now will quickly prove to be a cost-effective investment. Let us, as community members, urge the members of the School Board to move ahead with boldness and conviction as they take care of some long overdue business.

A final school board vote on the plan is set for June 19 at the meeting of the Board. Those who hope to delay the vote are working towards that end. We who support the proposed plan and its implementation must speak now with a compelling voice and a will to achieve our goal, benefiting both students and our city.

School Board members may be reached at schoolboard@duluth.k12.mn.us.

Yours in advocacy,

David Ross

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