The concept of the Delaware neighborhood school law has merit and who wouldn’t oppose it? Look close, I said “concept”.
I personally think it would be great if every child could attend a public school in their neighborhood. Back in the day when Delaware had real neighborhood schools, school were the anchor and center of the community. Parents were more involved and Delaware did have a world class education system. The desegregation order came about because Delaware’s government refused to lift the racist laws and treated black students as second class citizens. Delaware could of had implemented a school choice law with transportation allowing all students access to other schools. There was nothing stopping Delaware from assigned black children to the closest school.
If someone were to ask me, do you favor neighborhood schools? My response would be yes! However, if someone were to ask me, do you favor Delaware’s current neighborhood school plan? The answer would be NO!
Delaware’s neighborhood school plan caters to the more affluent parents who claimed they were against force busing because of the long bus rides to and from school. Many narrow-minded people think force busing has ended. Red Clay still has force busing for those middle and high school students living in Wilmington. Many Wilmington children live closer to A.I. High School but yet are bused to Dickinson High School. Red Clay is adding building space to A.I. High School to accommodate Choice students who created the over capacity issue. But yet, Red Clay wouldn’t add space to A.I. High School to undo an injustice that forces Wilmington children to ride buses to Dickinson when A.I. is closer.
Sure I am for neighborhood schools but only when we have real equity. Red Clay continues to build new schools in the suburbs under the excuse of the Neighborhood School Act. They pour the Kool-aid hiding behind the law at the same time forcing Wilmington children to take long bus rides and refuses to build traditional middle and high schools in Wilmington. At this time Red Clay has no traditional middle or high schools in Wilmington to delivery the promise of neighborhood schools. One of their excuses is, Wilmington Red Clay schools would become racially identifiable and that might trigger court action. It seems if schools are racially identifiable base on white student population there is no issues. However, if based on black student population there is a concern.
I am for neighborhood schools but only if there were equity across the district. Why should one group of students enjoy the fruits of neighborhood schools where another groups does not?
Sure Choice school option is a big part of Delaware’s neighborhood school plan. However, high poverty students are locked out because of lack of transportation. Also, schools are crowed to a point some are closed to those applying under school Choice. Red Clay uses the demand for more seats in it’s suburban school to justify building more school or expanding existing ones. However, not for school or needed schools in Wilmington. Red Clay’s answer to more school is Wilmington is, let the charter schools accommodate those needs. It’s one thing to past the buck but I think another to turn your backs on the needs of children living in your district.
If I were a student forced to take a pro position on Delaware neighborhoods and required to write a report. I would say, with all due respects Mr. Kingsfield, is it possible I could take a pro position on the neighborhood school “concept” and give you my opinion on Delaware’s flawed neighborhood school law? :) LOL
To the professor and his students, I had a great time today. Thanks for having me
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