Once again the DNT is channeling the Dixon line this time on Duluth’s magnet schools.
Its possible that Dr. Dixon could be using the lower achievements of minority children in the Duluth Schools to find a better way of educating them. I have become far to jaundiced about Dr. Dixon to believe this to be the case. I figure Dr. Dixon sees a million desegregation dollars and wants to spread it around because he has so many programming holes to fill since failing to pass operational levy for additional operational money and diverting other op money for Red Plan construction. This makes it verrrrrrry convenient to raid the deseg funds and he can blame the poor minority children for taking their money because it was their own fault they failed to achieve they way they were supposed to. Now one of the benefits of their magnet schools (and one of the few recognized ways to combat low achievement), small class sizes, will be taken from them as they are merged into the general school population.
Dr. D. has a laundry list of goodies to take the place of the magnet schools which are Dixonianly vague. ,The State Board of Education which seems to be about the easiest bureaocracy to hoodwink, will accept the rationale given them by Dr. Dixon to approve this and explain that its OK to try something different.
I note that the achievement of minority students seems to have fallen since Dr. Dixon got to Duluth. No doubt his constant raiding of the operations budget has had something to do with this as well as the gravitational pull of the Red Plan which has warped every part of the Duluth School District. Shortly after Dixon arrived in Duluth one of my former School Board colleagues wrote that much the same thing had happened in his former School District, Faribault. I dismissed her accusation at the time but I can’t help but wonder if she wasn’t correct.
One of Dr. Dixon’s fiercest critics in Duluth told me that Dr. Dixon said of integration programs and the children who participate in them that if a child hasn’t overcome his/her prejudices by high school it was too late to change them. For crying out loud the last presidential election seemed to show that an aging American voting public was able to set aside old racial prejudices. Kids are supposed to be much more malleable. Maybe she’ll read this and give my poor recollection the nuance I seem to be missing.
To me its clear that Dr. Dixon has a building fetish and children are simply an obstruction that he can move about willy nilly with the hope that once the disorder is over things will be put right. That will be something to look forward to in two years although it remains to be seen how long it will take for the voting public to approve an increase in local operational levies. Like Faribault it may not happen until Dixon moves on to greener pastures.
The magnet schools had their problems but it is worth noting that minority children and their families from outside the magnet attendance boundaries kept confounding the District by wanting to send their children to them. This, of course, turned the Deseg program’s goal of attracting non-minority children to the magnets on its head and subjected Duluth to the attention of the state. We weren’t meeting our non minority enrollment quotas. The letter from Jim St. Pierre, a social worker at Nettleton and Grant in today’s DNT makes it clear why this was so.
Under Dr. Dixon’s predecessor Duluth was making headway with minority children. That’s come to an abrupt end.