…before I rush off to serve lunch at the Soup Kitchen. It was sent late Wednesday night this week:
Hello Mr. Welty,
Thank you very much for giving me your personal email. I understand that there are a lot of unusual circumstances within the district, and I am certain that at times things are done “under the table”. The unfortunate thing for most of the kids on the west side of town is that these kids are not given the necessary tools to succeed further in life.
A little history on where I am coming from…. my husband and I are born and raised Duluthians and Duluth Central H.S. Graduates. Yet, every one of the schools we attended growing up are now closed.
So, when I see the inequalities between the schools on the East end of Town, versus the West end of town it infuriates me. If the school district continues to go down the path it is going, they might as well just have one huge school because once people find out that their kid is not going to receive the same education just because they “follow the rules and go to the school they are supposed to go to” you will continue to see a mass exodus of families either moving out of the district or transferring to the Eastern schools (which will continue to overcrowd those schools).
I also feel it is fundamentally WRONG to reward the people who are LYING and using other excuses as a means of getting their children transferred to the Eastern schools. If the boundaries were set exactly like they are now, and all of the kids who are “supposed to go to Lincoln and Denfeld” actually WENT to Lincoln and Denfeld, there would not be an overcrowding issue at East or Ordean. But, if the district wants to waste another $42,000 on hiring a new firm to conduct a demographic survey to show where the line should be, I can save them $42,000 by just closing all enrollment and making kids go to the school where their homes are located. The district can make the boundary a 2 block radius circling East High School and it would still be overcrowded, because of the stigma of the western half of the district. Parents will continue to complain and come up with one million excuses why their children nee, by the DISTRICT Office that 75% of the transfer requests are refused….. but little known fact that 90% of those that were initially denied, get granted, if their parents complain, or say that they will move out of the district. So that’s what families do, all because the district allows it.
Now back to why I was at the meeting last night. I am a 6th grade parent. My son honestly LOVES Lincoln, he does not want to go anywhere else, which makes me very proud. However, so far I have not got the feeling that my child is being Challenged by his teachers. I can only hope that he is getting the same education at Lincoln as his friends who are at Ordean. I would like to see an exam from two comparable classes at each of the schools to see if the expectations at both schools are the same, or if there is a disparity. I would also like to see a full academic schedule of both of the schools highlighting each class that is in session each hour of the day at both Lincoln and Ordean, and also to compare at East and Denfeld. I have heard from some parents that say the schools will not release such information. I would like to know why, it should be public information. What are they trying to hide?
Finally, I would like there to be a formal meeting any time a class is not offered at one of the schools. I know this seems ridiculous, however, the parents at Lincoln were blindsided this past year with their students not be allowed to have Spanish, and getting put into a class that is FACS (Family and Consumer Science-basically home economics for a culturally diverse population in its description) for an entire year. These families should have at least had an opportunity to sign their children up for a different language, or choose a different elective. I have a Masters Degree in [**********] and I worked very hard for that, but one of the things that gave me an edge on other applicants was the fact that I was Bi-lingual because I was able to take 5 years of Spanish (one year in 8th grade and 4 years in high school-with my final year as a Senior at Duluth Central over an Interactive Television class at DCHS that was a CITS type of class that gave me 5 college credits from UMD) I feel that stripping these children of such an opportunity should not be taken lightly, especially since their parents are the ones who are following the rules, and the boundary lines of the district. When my child ask’s me why I care so much about spanish, its not just about Spanish, it is because some of our neighbors, who are also supposed to be attending Lincoln, but have transferred (“For a better education and better opportunities”-their words not mine) have 8th graders who are in Spanish 1 at Ordean Middle School, and I don’t think this is the way we want to educate our children. I am not a believer in lying just to get what you want. I want the schools in the Duluth District to offer equal opportunities, so when a new family comes into the neighborhood the first thing they hear isn’t how they need to get on the list to transfer to an Eastern School. This is an equality problem and it needs to be addressed immediately.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you,
I returned a hastily composed reply with a request to put this email on my blog with identifying info removed. I was given permission to post this:
I’m delighted you sent me this email. I’d like to write a much more detailed reply, however, at the moment I am about to play Grandpa and pick up children from school for their night with grandparents. After that I’ve got church choir and tonight I hope to get a good night’s sleep after waking up stewing about how messed up things are in the District and getting out of bed to write a long email to a fellow Board member who chastised me at last night’s school board meeting for not being positive. Oh yeah, and I want to watch the next segment of the Roosevelts on PBS. (I need a positive example of accomplishment to get me through my sentence on our dysfunctional school board.)
A couple quick thoughts. I don’t trust much of anything some administrators in the District tell me. I supposedly sit on the District transfer committee so if you are right about all the folks you say are lying to get their kids sent east, I have not been shown evidence of that. Last night our Board chair kept insisting that Denfeld students have access to the same classes that East kids get because they get the same class sign up sheets as students in East High. I have to try to reconcile that statement with your email and the potent column written by Susan Johnson in Monday’s Duluth News Tribune.
I have a request. I have a blog called www.lincolndemocrat.com. I would like to include your letter minus anything that would identify you in my blog along with my insufficient reply. Would you be comfortable with that?
PS. Are you any relation to ******** ***********?