Hand wringing is not good enough

Today’s DNT editorial is well motivated and insufficient. It decries the inequity between our High School course offerings born of the Red Plan but offers no solution. Here’s its completely inadequate conclusion:

“While unfortunate that the challenge of east-west equity keeps coming up and continues to persist, district residents can be assured progress has been made, that the issue is constantly being addressed, and that there are ideas with promise.

“‘We want give all students the support they need to be successful,’ Gronseth said.

“That’s what we all should want — regardless of where in Duluth a student lives and goes to school.”

If I could posit one reason the School Board was eager to remove Art Johnston it is this: Art’s incessant carping about this inequality which affected the High School in his fourth District. I could be wrong but I’m not sure I am. Its ironic that so many of those on the Board who were trying to remove Art had such close ties to good old Denfeld.

One of the great losses of the titanic year-and-a-half struggle to remove Art was the focus it took away from educational concerns. Denfeld East inequity was probably the biggest issue that we were too busy to attend to during this civil war.

At one of our last meetings I said that we should have a single unified course catalog for our students in the high schools rather than two separate ones. To my surprise I learned we have a single cataglog which was offered three years ago just before I was elected to the Board. Who knew?

Even so, as I noted in a post not long ago the Denfeld counselors were unhappy that East counselors were talking about ways to offer additional courses at East that didn’t show up in the catalog in hopes of making this inequity less obvious. As the editorial makes clear two such unequal student populations makes inequity hard to stamp out. This editorial gives no evidence that this can ever change. Pity. To paraphrase a trite expression from the recently concluded Presidetial campaign: Its time to make the Duluth School Great again!

Alanna, Art and I believe their are solutions and we have been talking, unheard, among-st ourselves about possible solutions, to wit: 1. A “pilot” (hence temporary) program at Denfeld to offer a seven-period day. 2. A unification of our schools academically permitting students to take courses in either building. The primary difficulty? Busing. This could be addressed with different time schedules say half an hour difference allowing traveling time from one building to the other. 3. Interactive Television Courses. I’m surprised this has fallen by the wayside with the Red Plan. When I served on the Board before we had the makings and set up for such classes.

These are just the solutions that occur to me now. If our District made this a priority we could push it. But that would require thinking outside the box. Its long overdue for this to take place. Simply muzzling critics of the current inequity is no solution. That’s like wishing that Saturday Night Live would quit making fun of the Nation’s Twitterer in Chief to make America a happy place again. Wishing ain’t gonna make it happen.

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