The AISD administration has recommended closing 12 schools, the majority of which are located east of I-35, nine of which are economically disadvantaged schools, and 11 are majority minority, as part of their "School Changes" plan ["AISD, Remixed
," News, Sept. 13].
It is not fair or just to expect the already disadvantaged areas of Austin to bear the brunt of “School Changes” no matter how well intentioned. Justice demands more than equal treatment. In the case of AISD, it demands sacrifice and NOT by the historically underfunded and neglected areas of the city.
I am compelled to note that AISD’s current course of action is likely to lead to several unintended but predictable consequences:
▪ dramatic loss of support for public schools throughout Austin
▪ skepticism which will hinder the success of AISD future bond issues
▪ increase in enrollment in charter schools
▪ increase in out migration to suburban neighborhood schools
▪ exacerbation of the divide between minority and lower income East Austin and the better-off areas of Austin
▪ possible court challenges which the Texas Legislature will use to promote their anti-public school agenda
While I can fully appreciate the desire of the board of trustees to support the administration and its task forces and not second-guess the results of their well-intentioned work, this is a critical time for AISD and the residents of Austin. In this critical time the board of trustees must not be afraid to exercise leadership to ensure this difficult situation does not become a disastrous one.
Therefore, the AISD Board of Trustees should unequivocally state that they will defer any decision on the proposed school changes until: necessary detailed information has been made available; the community has ample opportunity for authentic engagement; other school scenarios are considered; and the diversity and economic disadvantage of student populations at schools recommended for closure are considered in the school change decision making.