ReZoning Public Schools: A neighbors guide to (civil) discourse

This is a preliminary attempt at a parent/neighbors guide to positively supporting the rezoning of SOMSD – how to talk to those who are reluctant to change.
I welcome your feedback !
June 17, 2018

Dear Allies and Concerned Community Members,

I am a parent, and educator and an educational researcher . I have followed the district’s struggles with inequity since 2013. And I truly believe that the rezoning proposed is a significant step in the right direction – moving forward to desegregate our schools is long overdue.

So here are some talking points – for those of you who are allies and want to know where to begin, how to share the ideas with neighbors and friends in positive ways. Hope it helps !

Q: Why is SOMSD rezoning ?
A: In a NUTSHELL to address the inequalities in our schools – mostly the racial inequities.

Q: Why is rezoning essential for racial equity ?
A: Because of the income inequalities in our hyper racialized society not everyone can afford to live in certain areas of our town. Housing inequity goes all the way back to the slavery, home ownership was something white folks have passed down from generation to generation – POC, specifically those of African descent have not had the same benefits.
Federal and state laws have been passed to balance these inequities but they will take decades to impact the inequities.This is called the Fair Housing Act for more information follow this link FHA

Q: Why do we need to desegregate the schools ?
A: All students regardless of their socio economic background deserve a fair and equal education – that is the basis of Public education. Socio economics are impacted by race and so when white and privileged students often receive more resources in their schools. Because students of color, specifically Black and Latinx students, recent immigrants and those who are English Language Learners deserve the same educational experience as others.

Q: But how will this impact my (white) kids?
A: Look your kids already have a gazillion benefits – this will, as it happens , have a positive impact on them. BTW have you ever thought about white privilege and the seen and unseen ways you and your kids benefit from it ?To learn more about White Privilege read this article – which was one of the first on the topic ‘Unpacking the Invisible KnapSack’. By Peggy McIntosh Peggy McIntosh

Q: Do you really believe that ? We had a Black President, we live in a post racial society!
A: No we don’t.
For an overview of racism and white privilege here is a 101 article Racism and White Privilege

Q: OK so racism exists but can I really solve it ?
A: The only way racism will end is if we all work to end it ….
Racism exists everywhere, it is in the air we breathe. Beverly Daniel-Tatum – renowned author, educator and national expert (spoke at the Coalition on Race twice) describes the work against this as travelling up a down escalator. For more information and some excellent reads go to Dr.Daniel Tatum’s website. Dr.Daniel-Tatum

Q: I did not know the purpose of public education is not so that our kids can do better than others. The common good, that sounds like some liberal BS –
A: The purpose of education is the ‘common good’ – when we are not supporting the common good and only meeting the needs of certain students we are violating the very purpose of public schools. NC Board of Education has embraced this ideal – linked here NCBOE

Q: But how do I benefit from the common good ?
A:This article from 1983 explains the benefits for the US market ( may appeal to the pro capitalists) PublicSchoolandthecommongood

Q: I just think this is some socialist BS – I have worked hard to get where I am ….
A:You’re probably not a fan of Huffpost, but let me tell you about an article I read that explains it really well. This Huff Post Article offers a really good summary of common good HUFFPOST
Also noone worked harder than those who were enslaved and built the very infrastructure of this country – and that’s the basis of the inequity….This article explains the evolution of education and the ‘gross inequalities ‘ in a really succinct way. Lots of links articles cited edweekarticle

Q: Maybe I Will just send my kids to private school!
A: That’s your choice but the value of good public education is something we all benefit from …Purpose Of publiced

Q: I don’t believe what I do really impacts all of this
A: Well it does, and so does the ideas and decisions of your neighbours , family and friends. Our system is not working, some schools have more resources US history shows that desegregation and integration is essential LOC

Q: But it isn’t an issue at my kids school …
A: But it is, it just isn’t an issue for your kid – yet. We have not achieved integration. School segregation is not a myth – and we suffer as a result of it.Integration. Do you really want your kid to be successful at the expense of other kids ?
As desegregation happened in the cities – it was once again done on the’ back of ‘ POC. That is white students were not bussed to ‘black schools’ but black students were bussed to white schools, which were hostile and unwelcoming places. When this was ruled unconstitutional white folks began what we call ‘white flight’ they fled to the suburbs ….Desegregation

Q: This is why we moved here – for the good schools
A: Me too – but I want good schools for everyone, not just my kids !
This NY times articles focus on why desegregation should be on the top of the agenda for public school reform School Reform

Q: I just don’t see how this will benefit my kid
A: It will trust me ( it always does)‘How desegregation changed us’ is an article from Teachers College about desegregation positively impacts everyon TV article

Q: I don’t want my kids test scores to go down…
A: They won’t – most of the standardised tests are culturally biased and so white kids will always do better in them anyway ..but the achievement gp won’t affect your kid. And integration will benefit everyone.The achievement gap more appropriate called the opportunity gap exists in society and in our school district. This article explains the achievement gap and societies lack of concern around it ( by society read white folks) Achievement Gap

Q: I’ve heard about that ,I just assumed it was because kids didn’t have you know, two parents, a stable home life.
A: We can get into that topic another day = that’s a myth that is ut out there look at these statistics…we all suffer if we keep things the same way.National Center for Statistics – all the date you need on this topic NCES The Racial Achievement Gap – and its impact on the US Atlantic

Q: What causes the achievement gap ?
A:It’s not always the socio economic, or the parental homelife – there are many reasons why it exists …..and the solutions include integrated schools and shared resources National Education Association

Q: But we have the best teachers in the district …
A: Says who ? according to what ? Define best ? Listen to what the teachers are saying …Causes of and solutions to the achievement gap National Study of teachers Solutions

Q:teachers are humans too we can’t expect them to solve all the worlds issues
A: No we can’t but we can work with them to provide better opportunities for all of our kids, do you know the HUGE impact teachers have on student success ?ANother issue that impacts student success is teacher bias, The Harvard Implicit Bias research is well documented – and the impact this has on education is explained here Implicit Bias

Q: But what about my kids getting ahead in the world – won’t their chances be negatively impacted by this . after all we bought a house on _____ street so they could go to ________ school.
A: Just because you bought your house there does not mean you have the right to the local school ….that is not written into our laws as a town, state or nation. What is written is that everyone has the right to a free and equal education and that just is not happening right now in SOMSD. This is what zoning means, this is why we need to do it ,
Overview of zoning practices explained here Zoning

Q: I chose the school …
A: then you chose a racist segregated community – and we need to move past it School boundaries cause segregation Boundaries

Q: But my kids …
A: Look you probably dislike NPR as well but humor me, your kids will be fine…NPR story on how segregation benefits whites and harms POC NPR

Q: It seems’ like an impossible undertaking ….
A: Other districts have done this and we need to as well ……Desegregated By Intent

IN CONCLUSION …. here is the article you were probably hoping for when you came to this page,,,If so if you are still reading …benefits or HERE or HERE

Looking forward to doing this work with you !

Unfortunately the hyper links do not work here so please click on this LINK

Jane E.Bleasdale PhD

Published by Jane Bleasdale PhD

Jane.Bleasdale, PhD is Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Leadership Studies in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco (USF). Dr.Bleasdale has lived and taught in the United Kingdom, The Bahamas and the United States, Her career as an educator now spans three decades. Dr. Bleasdale previously served as a high school administrator focusing on equity and inclusion through personnel and student development Her doctoral research focused on equity and inclusion in high schools and specifically the experience of Black, Latino and LGBTQ students. She has recently conducted research on social and emotional wellness of students, the impact of school leaders on creating inclusive communities and critical feminist perspectives on leadership.Current research focuses on the experience and impact of women leaders with intersectional identities. Dr.Bleasdale is the principal investigator on a participatory action research project at USF collaborating with 10 doctoral students on a new paradigm for equitable leadership focused on critical feminst perspectives.

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