Race to Achieve Diversity
An important case involving the closure of an elementary school in the year 2013, happened in my own district of employment. As with any school closure within a district, this case was filled with contention and emotion. The particular school which was the school selected to close was the oldest and smallest school in the district. It was also the school in which encompasses the highest free and reduced lunch, the lowest socio-economic status, and the most diverse population of students in the district.
The primary goal of the school closure, as stated by the School Board of Directors and District Administration, was to close the achievement gap and increase student achievement. Students attended this elementary school had lower schools in both reading and math when compared to all other elementary schools. Additionally, this particular elementary school spanned grades K-3 while the others were K-5. There was a secondary of having uniformity across the district by maintaining a K-5 structure in all buildings.
Over the course of several months, there were various hearings, parent forums, and a redistricting committee. Community members and parents were outraged by the closure which led to many contentious board meetings. Ultimately, parents claimed that the school closure was discriminatory against the ELL parents as all documents and communication regarding the closure hearings were only written in English. Therefore, Spanish speaking parents didn’t have a voice to express their opinion or get proper notifications of the on-goings. A claim with the Office of Civil Rights was filed. After the investigation, the District was ordered to provide multi-language communication correspondence to parents whose primary language is not English.
This school closure was an event filled with anger, emotion and contention. In the end, the school closed in June of 2013.