Friday, July 18, 2008

While shopping for school supplies...

Here are words I shared with Mr. Bronston before his article today:

As a parent of a Westbank 4th grader attending Metairie Academy (for 4 years now) I am dishearten by the vote of the board to remove Metairie's 5th grade to the Haynes campus. I may be one of the parents who will have to attend a Westbank school after completing the terminal grade at Metairie Academy making my child now have to go to Thomas Jefferson, having the only 5th grade magnet program on the Westbank in 2009. The only other option would be Patrick Taylor but (as Nicole pointed out) not until the following year as PT starts with 6th grade, requiring my child to possibly change schools again (three schools in three years). So much for "choice".

I like to express most of my feelings and view to the school board through this blog. I find school board meetings unproductive and stifling of parental expression so I refrain from confrontations there. How difficult would it be for the board to share their intentions...if they were confident that they were doing the right thing. Our concerns will be firmly made to the board, if they wish to know, during the fairness hearing before Judge Engelhardt concerning the status of magnets on both sides of the river. This kind of unilateral decision making by the JPSB is not one that the Judge will find in keeping with the ideals of fairness.

I understand and welcome the necessary growing pains that will result as magnet programs potentially expand into Blenk High School and Kenner and throughout the greater New Orleans area. I only hope that the political motivations for this growth will fall in "lockstep" with providing more of our children on the Westbank and Eastbank with quality public education and development. The magnet ideal attracts good teachers and administrators and demands disciplined study above the average from children and teachers. This ideal also promotes an environment where parents and guardians are encouraged by the great potential their children demonstrate in various academic and creative disciplines. I'd like to see this kind of educational experience grow uninhibited by the viciousness of the past so our children will understand and refrain from repeating it.

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