Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Two Cents on the Eden Prairie Redistricting Controversy

I don't have much time to write today, so I'm sorry about not giving a back story to those of my readers who know nothing about this. But I felt the need to comment.

I must first say that I'm relieved not to have any children in the Eden Prairie school system. Secondly, I don't understand why this has gotten so out of hand. Isn't it possible that parents simply want their children to go to the schools closest to their homes? I live very close to one of the elementary schools, and if the district were to create a bubble over my home and tell me that I must bus my child across town for school, I'd be upset.

Now that the Kindergarten Center is gone, five-year-olds are being bussed to these elementary schools. I'd be livid if my little one was not in my neighborhood school. Can't it just be that simple? Why would one automatically be a racist for being against this plan?

There's plenty of evidence that bussing doesn't produce the desired academic results, thus making parents' and students' lives more logistically complicated unnecessarily. Usually, children are bussed out of lower economic areas because the schools there are sub-par and the thought is they could get a better education in a better school in a better neighborhood. So by advocating this plan, is the school board saying some of Eden Prairie's elementary schools are sub-par and others are better? I thought they were striving for excellence across the board. I had no idea they were depriving Eden Prairie's poor by sending them to "bad" neighborhood schools.

This makes no sense, and the escalating language seems as unnecessary as the redistricting plan itself.

4 comments:

Susan Strigel said...

Your comments are right on, Crystal. I would be furious if my neighborhood was affected by this ill-conceived plan. Instead of shuffling students, the Eden Prairie school board needs to address the issue of their sub-par schools.

Crystal Kelley said...

Thanks, Susan. I know that is why so many parents in Eden Prairie are choosing Catholic schools or other private school options. Thankfully, our youngest graduated last year, but we do have a granddaughter who may be affected by this, so I'm watching what they're doing from afar, I guess. I'm honored that you're reading my blog.

Steve said...

Moved here from another state. As a child, my school district tried forced busing & it failed miserably. Parents were angry about the new boundaries. To be frank, many of their objections were downright racist. And they used the awful experience to further justify their irrational hatred.

As Goldwater said "you cannot legislate morality".

Don't get me wrong, the experience hasn't left me jaded about government. As MLK retorted "It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that is pretty important also."

We can use government to change behavior for the better. Still, as a man of God, King knew that we must choose to love our fellow man.

So are these new boundaries about preventing lynchings? Or are they about making people love one another?

It's worth noting that all the talk of "diversity" in this case refers mostly to the Somali population in Eden Prairie. I have no doubt that they can contribute quite a bit to Eden Prairie. But their current collective struggles are not a result of hostility. The group has recently arrived from a war-torn country, for crying out loud. Any collective disadvantage among Somalis will probably fade as they distance themselves from the problems of their past.

David Pollitt said...

The change will reduce busing from my house from 3 miles down to .7 miles. The thought that this change is forcing all families to switch from neighborhood schools to extended trips on the bus is ill-conceived.

Take a look at a map of the cities schools, they are mostly centrally located or north-central located. Obviously someone is going to end up on a bus unless you would like to invest in new capital expenditures.