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E Stone Emails Nov Dec

E Stone Emails Nov Dec

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Published by: GazetteOnline on Jan 12, 2013
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07/10/2013

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Chace Ramey
From:
Edwin Stone <stone.edwin@gmail.com>
Sent:
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 12:36 PM
To:
Jeff Charis Carlson
Cc:
Board; council@iowa-city.org
Subject:
Equity Editorial
For at least fifteen years there has been a struggle going on in our community between two competing concepts of publiceducation. Some believe that the tax-supported educational resources in our community should be distributed equallywhile others feel that inequality is a fact of life and that it is desirable to have some schools with significantly betterphysical facilities, curricular opportunities and socioeconomic status than others. School board after school board andsuperintendent after superintendent have ignored the growing disparities and in some cases have even taken actions tomake them worse. As a result, the average school on one side of our district has gotten newer and newer while the averageschool on the other side has gotten older and older. The average school in Iowa City is now more than twice as old as theaverage school in Coralville and more than three times as old as the average school in North Liberty. Five new schoolshave been built in the latter two cities in the past 15 years while no new elementary or junior high schools have been builtin Iowa City. Schools in the newer parts of our community are much more likely to be air conditioned, ADA compliantand free of lead paint and asbestos than schools in the older parts. During the past fifteen years our district’s schools havealso become dramatically segregated along socioeconomic lines. Today, only 5.9% of the students in one of ourelementary schools qualify for free and reduced lunch while 78.6% of the students in another elementary qualify for thissupport.There is a large body of literature showing a relationship between the average socioeconomic status of a school and theacademic performance of its students. And, school districts that have taken steps to balance the socioeconomicparameters of their schools have found that students at both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum benefit from suchbalance.For these and other reasons some members of our current school board feel that equity of facilities, curriculum andsocioeconomic status are very important for public schools. They have drafted a policy that is designed to reduce thedisparities in socioeconomic status among our schools and to make sure that our existing secondary schools are fully andequally utilized before building new ones. This marks a very critical point in the evolution of our community. Thedisparities in our schools are already so stark that if we do not take aggressive steps to reduce them it is unlikely that weever will. The effect of this disparity on our community’s many neighborhoods is nearing the point of no return becausein addition to their primary role of educating our children, schools set the tone for the economic health and well being of neighborhoods. Dilapidated old schools foster dilapidated old neighborhoods and well-maintained schools foster healthywell-maintained neighborhoods.The board members who have crafted the equity policy deserve atremendous amount of respect and appreciation from our community.Equity always sounds great in principle, but it is usually very difficult to achieve in the real world. Fifty-nine years ago,the Supreme Court did the right thing when they acknowledged that segregation of schools was inherently unequal andhence unconstitutional. Our community should recognize the analogy between this landmark decision and our currentsituation and support our school board in the community saving actions they are taking.Ed Stone
 
2
Chace Ramey
From:
Sarah Swisher
Sent:
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 11:42 AM
To:
Edwin Stone
Subject:
RE: Draft editorial for your comments
I find your op ed remarkably conciliatory. Send it in, it is from you.________________________________________From: Edwin Stone [stone.edwin@gmail.com]Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 10:03 AMTo: Sarah SwisherSubject: Re: Draft editorial for your commentsAny suggestions for mine or is it "good to go"?EdOn Jan 9, 2013, at 9:06 AM, Sarah Swisher wrote:> I am doing one, too.>> Sarah>> ________________________________> From: Edwin Stone [stone.edwin@gmail.com]> Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 11:34 PM> To: Sarah Swisher> Subject: Draft editorial for your comments>> Hi Sarah,>> I will submit this shortly after noon tomorrow. Let me know if you> have any suggestions.>> Thanks,>> Ed>> For at least ten years there has been a struggle going on in our> community between two competing concepts of public education. Some> believe that the tax-supported educational resources in our community> should be distributed equally while others feel that inequality is a> fact of life and that it is desirable to have some schools with> significantly better physical facilities, curricular opportunities and> socioeconomic status than others. School board after school board and> superintendent after superintendent have ignored the growing> disparities and in some cases have even taken actions to make the> disparities worse. As a result, the average school on one side of our> district has gotten newer and newer while the average school on the> other side has gotten older and older. The average school in Iowa City
 
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> is now more than twice as old as the average school in Coralville and> more than three times as old as the average school in North Liberty.> Five new schools have been built in the latter two cities in the past> 15 years while no new elementary or junior high schools have been> built in Iowa City. During this period our district’s schools have> also become dramatically segregated along socioeconomic lines. Today,> 5.9% of the students in one of our elementary schools qualify for free> and reduced lunch while 78.6% of the students in another elementary> qualify for this support.>> There is a large body of literature showing a relationship between the> average socioeconomic status of a school and the academic performance> of its students. And, school districts that have taken steps to> balance the socioeconomic parameters of their schools have found that> students at both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum benefit from such> balance. For these and other reasons some members of our current> school board feel that equity of facilities, curriculum and> socioeconomic status are very important for public schools. They have> drafted a policy that is designed to reduce the disparities in> socioeconomic status among our schools and make sure that our existing> secondary schools are fully and equally utilized before building new> ones. We are at a very critical point in the evolution of our> community. The disparities in our schools are already so stark that> if we do not take aggressive steps to reduce them it is unlikely that> we ever will. It is also important to realize that in addition to> their primary role of educating our children, schools set the tone for> the economic health and well being of neighborhoods. Dilapidated old> schools foster dilapidated old neighborhoods and well-maintained> schools foster healthy well- maintained neighborhoods.>> The board members who have crafted the equity policy deserve a> tremendous amount of appreciation from our community. Equity always> sounds great in principle, but it is usually very difficult to achieve> in the real world. Fifty-nine years ago, the Supreme Court did the> right thing when they acknowledged that segregation of schools was> inherently unequal and hence unconstitutional. Our community should> recognize the analogy between this landmark decision and our current> situation and support our school board in the very important action> they are taking.

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