Tuesday, December 05, 2006

School busing rares its ugly head in Manatee

At least the FL-13 debacle is no longer the most rediculous news story in SW Florida. The school board of Manatee County has approved a redistricting plan that will force over 1000 students to switch schools.

As part of the plan - as we assume the reason for the plan - about 75 migrant children will be bused to a whiter, more affluent school than the one that they now attend.

Why is this necessary?

(from Sarasota Herald-Tribune) The migrant busing plan was pushed by some administrators who want to diversify McNeal's student population.
Teachers at the school where the migrant children now attend are speaking out against the move.
Myakka has spent years building programs so the migrant students can succeed academically, and to help them adjust to a new culture. Some Myakka teachers worry the students' cultural differences -- many migrants speak Spanish as their native language and come from low-income families -- are too vast for them to adjust well to McNeal.

"They have a history at Myakka," said teacher Vickie Parker, who has worked at Myakka for 20 years. "Obviously going to McNeal is going to be a whole different world for them."
The view of the teachers will probably have little effect on what happens in Manatee County. Now that the "D" word has been invoked the plan is as good as gospel. (that's diversity - in case you were wondering)

It's not clear who is supposed to benefit from the busing. Apparently some teachers fear for the white students at McNeal (that's the rich white school):
"This is not a migrant issue," said Myakka teacher Cheryl Mathis. "It is an issue of how do we make our classrooms equitable, and make changes at McNeal so those kids see some faces other than their white neighbors all the time."
Unfortunately, it is usually the more disadvantaged kids that are harmed by moves like this. But how can we blame the school board? It probably feels like the right thing to do. I wonder how many of their kids will be bused.

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