Denfeld Equity Questionaire

Yesterday my blog was down for much of the day. I presume this was the result of the worldwide hack. You can see it play out on this map over the day. I had no way to post and this one comes belatedly.

I had been sent this questionaire from the Denfeld Equity group and was reminded yesterday that I had not yet replied to it:

On April 18th, we provided a summary of our work outlining areas of inequity and specific recommendations for addressing them in the short term and longer term. We trust you have had plenty of time to consider them and now ask for your initial response.

We heard the administration’s desire to calculate the fiscal impacts of each of the recommendations before discussing the inequities. This approach, however, would sidestep the essential discussion of what is currently just vs unjust / acceptable vs unacceptable. Leadership requires that you articulate not merely what we can afford, but also what we must be committed to addressing.

The community engaged in these issues is eager to hear from you. We ask for your responses to the following questions by Thursday May 11th. Responding to our committee will allow us to share those replies with the larger community. Your response(s) will save you having to hear from and respond to each person individually.

1. How important is it that ISD709 do things for the 2017-18 school year that are not already being done to improve equity within the District?

2. Which examples of inequities and unmet needs are, for you, the most pressing? (this is not dependent on the cost of addressing them or inclusion on the list we generated, simply the most pressing inequities/needs)

3. Considering the four priority issues (not strategies) put forth by our group, which, if any, do you support addressing differently in some form in time for the 2017-18 school year?

Thank you for your response. We look forward to working with you to creatively consider how to address the pressing equity needs within the District.

Here was my belated reply:

1. How important is it that ISD709 do things for the 2017-18 school year that are not already being done to improve equity within the District?

Extremely important.

2.Which examples of inequities and unmet needs are, for you, the most pressing? (this is not dependent on the cost of addressing them or inclusion on the list we generated, simply the most pressing inequities/needs)

I would immediately alter our use of “Compensatory Education” spending by making it follow free and reduced lunch students into the schools they attend. I would leave it to the schools to determine just how to spend this money.

There is no easy fix for the worst aspect of our boundary inequality. More students live near East High School than live near Denfeld. Nonetheless, this is the most pressing issue.

I am particularly interested in two remedies for this uneven population one of which your group has not suggested. You have not suggested that we offer classes at Denfeld which would require/necessitate that East students travel to Denfeld or vice versa.

Here is an extreme example of how this could work: If all English classes were offered only at Denfeld then East students would have no choice but to travel to Denfeld or if all math classes were offered only at East then Denfeld students would have to travel to East. Although this is an outrageous example it demonstrates how we could make our schools equal in population. Or maybe all 9th and 10th grade students would attend one school and then attend the other for 11th and 12th grade.

For many years it has occurred to me that we should think of our two high schools as two campuses of the same high school – to unify Duluth. This would be a long-term issue requiring a lot of input from across the city to put into effect.

For the shorter term I am intrigued by your group’s suggestion to use interactive television classes at East High which would be transmitted from extra Denfeld class which would give Denfeld students additional opportunities fill out their course offerings.

3.Considering the four priority issues (not strategies) put forth by our group, which, if any, do you support addressing differently in some form in time for the 2017-18 school year?

I wrote back that I could not recall what the four priority issues were and was sent back a pdf which listed them. (I took a photo of on my computer screen to share them here)

Thus my answer to question number three was:

All of them.

…………………………WeltyforSchoolBoard.com