Parents Want School Choice
It surprises me that more parents don't vote for more school choice. Under the current system, your kids go to school wherever the school board says they go to school -- parents have very little say in the matter. Parents in Madison were reminded of that last night.
The pleas of an emotional audience were not enough to dissuade the Madison School Board from approving a new boundary plan for elementary and middle schools in the Memorial High School attendance area.
The board voted unanimously at its meeting Monday night to give a green light to Plan F, which moves more than 400 students at five elementaries. Boundary changes are necessary in anticipation of a new school now under construction on the far west side. The school will open next fall.
The majority of parents testifying at a public hearing session that lasted for more than two hours objected to the part of the plan that moves 64 students from the neighborhoods around WISC-TV/Channel 3 from Chavez Elementary to Falk Elementary.
Parents argued that the plan was hastily drawn and poorly communicated and that their neighborhood and children have been involved in more moves over the last 10 years than others have.
In addition, many parents expressed concerns about the move to Falk, which currently has an enrollment of 66 percent low-income students.
Other changes that drew fire from unhappy parents who live in the Hawk's Landing area near the new elementary school included the board's unanimous decision to send students from the new school to Toki Middle School instead of Jefferson Middle School as originally planned.
School Board member Lawrie Kobza explained that it's important for the board to try to keep capacity levels up in schools closer to the core of the city to allow for growth at the edges of the community.
The school board does what it wants, according to its all-knowing master plan. The parents are free to either pound sand in frustration or move to a new neighborhood. A voucher or tax credit system would allow parents to choose which school their children attend, without having to fight the School Board or buy a house.