Carol Sawyer presented the following statement to the Board of Education on October 25, 2016.
Policy JCA has the potential to create magnet schools with greater SES diversity. I appreciate the Board and staff’s hard work to draft it.
However, it creates harmful unintended consequences.
Often referenced in the options plan has been that seats in low performing schools will be ‘freed up’ as students ‘choice out’. But what is the impact upon those schools as they lose students?
Fewer students means lower funding and teacher allotments. On the surface, this seems logical. However, as you know, students will not be leaving these schools in systematic. Not all of the ESL students will leave in year 1 and all for the advanced students in year 2.
Classes without “critical mass” will be dropped – this often means that advanced/scholars level courses are not offered. Elective course will be reduced in scope. Support services – social workers, ESL teachers, TD teachers and other staff are reduced or eliminated.
We have seen how creating small middle schools in k-8s has led to inequitable access to arts and other electives. How will Board policy prevent this problem from expanding?
Where is the policy language that protects the schools that lose population over a course of years? Where is the language that guarantees a full complement of advanced courses and electives to EVERY student – even those in schools with declining populations?
I urge the board to add an amendment to JCA or draft a companion policy that supports these schools so that the students attending them do not suffer inferior educational opportunities and support services.
Equitable educational opportunities cannot be left to ‘freedom and flexibility’ or administrative procedures. This is a POLICY issue.