Intriguing School Choice

“School choice.” By now, it’s become a shibboleth of modern education. It’s also a euphemism for “make sure there aren’t schools with too many black kids.” The unspoken, (otherwise) politically incorrect rationale: too many blacks together just doesn’t make for a good learning environment. In any other context, this would be abhorrently racist thinking. But not with the “school choice” crowd.

Instead of, say, assuring that all schools have parity when it comes to physical plants, curricular materials, course offerings and instructional staff, the aim is to insure that housing patterns don’t re-segregate our schools. Hence various kinds of “magnets” and “attractor programs” for students to attend a school other than the one that is closest — the one that just might foster a sense of community identity. And parental involvement. Remember those days?

Anyhow, this county is now throwing brochures, color-coded maps, resource centers and public meetings at parents to help them navigate the tricky shoals of “school choice” and make informed decisions.

Which brings us to parents from the Hunter’s Green area of North Tampa. Their kids go to Hunter’s Green Elementary, a school with a healthy sense of community and parental involvement. It’s also earned a nationally recognized academic reputation. For obvious reasons, the parents like it that way.

That school, however, is slated to become an attractor program. Apparently, it’s not attractive enough as is — merely an academic exemplar. The attractor program will be in sports.

Now that’s an interesting priority; there was certainly no Hunter’s Green groundswell for it. Perhaps it’s because we, as a society, are already saturated in sports — as well as the dysfunctional role models they too frequently yield.

So there is some skepticism from Hunter Green parents.

It just might be that they see right through this game of social engineering.

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