Monthly Archives: November, 2007

A Lessen in Reading

If you are reading these words, chances are good that–in addition to possessing impeccable taste in weblogs–you both enjoy reading and regularly engage in this activity. Sadly, though, you may be a member of a growing minority, as the following news article from the Washington Post details:

A Troubling Case of Readers’ Block

Americans are reading less and their reading proficiency is declining at troubling rates, according to a report that the National Endowment for the Arts will issue today. The trend is particularly strong among older teens and young adults, and if it is not reversed, the NEA report suggests, it will have a profound negative effect on the nation’s economic and civic future.

“This is really alarming data,” said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. “Luckily, we still have an opportunity to address it, but if we wait 10, 20 years, I think it may be too late.”

Titled “To Read or Not to Read,” the report is a significant expansion of the NEA’s widely cited 2004 study, “Reading at Risk.” The NEA based that earlier study exclusively on data from its own arts surveys, and as a result, that analysis focused mainly on so-called literary reading — novels, stories, plays and poems. This led some critics to downplay its implications.

The new report assembles much more data, drawing on large-scale studies done by other government agencies (such as the Department of Education) and by non-government organizations. These studies tend to use broader definitions of reading, said Sunil Iyengar, the NEA’s director of research and analysis, with many looking at “all kinds of reading,” a category that includes reading done online.

The story the numbers tell, Gioia said, can be summed up in about four sentences:

“We are doing a better job of teaching kids to read in elementary school. But once they enter adolescence, they fall victim to a general culture which does not encourage or reinforce reading. Because these people then read less, they read less well. Because they read less well, they do more poorly in school, in the job market and in civic life.” [full text]

Misconceived Equal Rights

Ever hear of Rocky Mountain oysters? If not, I would discourage you from ordering it from the menu. For rather than being served a plate of delectable shellfish, you would find yourself presented with a dish of deep-fried bull testicles. Yum. The lesson herein is that some things, at first glance, are not what they seem to be. Here’s another example: Colorado for Equal Rights. You might think, upon hearing this organization’s name, that its members are a group of progressive activists seeking to counter sexism, racism, homophobia, or the like. You would be way off base. According to their website, “Colorado for Equal Rights was founded for the purpose of supporting equal rights for all human beings–no matter what stage of life they are in.” In other words, these folks are working diligently to ensure that the unborn, from the very moment of conception, are granted full legal status. And, to achieve this goal, they are attempting to place a measure on the ballot next year that would amend the state constitution to grant John and Jane Embyo the equal rights they have apparently been denied. The New York Times has more on the story:

Proposed Colorado Measure on Rights for Human Eggs

A proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution that would give legal rights to fertilized human eggs may be headed for the ballot next year, raising the prospect of a heated local debate over abortion at the same time that Democrats are gathering here for their national convention.

The ballot measure, which passed a legal hurdle this week when the Colorado Supreme Court upheld an administrative panel’s ruling about its wording, would give Colorado perhaps the most sweeping language in the nation about the rights of the unborn, legal experts said.

The proposal must go through several other steps between now and Election Day 2008, including gathering of enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

But both sides agreed that the measure, if it passed, would have immense ripple effects. The measure, just one paragraph long, would ask voters whether inalienable rights, due process rights and equality of justice rights as defined in the state Constitution should be extended to “any human being from the moment of fertilization.�

The deputy director of Naral Pro-Choice Colorado, Toni Panetta, said state courts could be swamped by suits claiming specific rights for a fertilized egg that the broad language of the ballot measure did not clarify.

“All fertilized eggs could use the courts, and that lays the foundation for a potential onslaught,� she said. She said the language would open up challenges to birth control, including oral contraception and intrauterine devices, which make the uterine wall inhospitable to the developing egg. [full text]

Big Dick Cheney

What would do more to get out the message that “Hummer Helps” than the rescue of the small, the helpless, the innocent? That’s why it’s such a clump of mud on the fender of the Hummer reputation that a Hummer was used in the slaughter of cute, round little birds. Here was the scene in 2003 shortly before the Vice President had his vacation spoiled when that clumsy Harry Whittington got himself shot in the face.

The increasingly low-profile V.P. was taken to Pittsburgh by Air Force Two earlier this week where his security detail loaded him and his favorite shotgun into a Humvee, and went to Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There, he and nine other hunting buddies shot at 500 ringneck pheasants, killing 417 of them. The V.P. was credited with offing 70 of the birds, as well as an unknown number of mallard ducks.

The shooting spree prompted an outraged letter from the Humane Society. This wasn’t a hunting ground. It was an open-air abattoir, and the vice president should be ashamed to have patronized this operation and then slaughtered so many animals,” Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States, wrote in a letter of protest, according to ThePittsburghChannel.com.

The V.P. is at it again, just last month according to Alternet, seeking a prey even less mobile than Harry.

Birds raised for canned hunts at gun clubs and in state “recreational” areas are grown in packed pens — think factory farmed chickens — and fitted with goggles so they won’t peck each other to death from the crowding. When released for put and take hunters like Cheney, pen raised birds can barely walk or fly — or see, thanks to the goggles. They don’t know how to forage or hide in the wild and sometimes have to be kicked to “fly” enough to be shot.

Think of how cool it would be if the Hummer Helpers swooped in and saved the little birds. And if they arrived too late to help, it would be very manly of them to pluck and gut the birds to feed the hungry. These birds should not die in vain, and there’s no way ten guys can eat 417 pheasants.

And if there’s any resemblance between a man who shoots tame birds and a man who drives a military vehicle to go to the supermarket it’s purely coincidental..

The War OF Drugs?

Writing for Z Magazine–but here posted on AlterNet–Bruce Levine, a clinical psychologist, takes on the psychopharmaceutical-industrial complex:

Moody Is the New Bipolar

In Eugene Jarecki’s documentary film Why We Fight, about the U.S. military-industrial complex, U.S. foreign policy critic Chalmers Johnson states: “I guarantee you when war becomes that profitable, you are going to see more of it.” Similarly, as mental illness has become extremely profitable, we are seeing more of it.

On September 4, 2007, the New York Times reported, “The number of American children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder increased 40-fold from 1994 to 2003 … Drug makers and company-sponsored psychiatrists have been encouraging doctors to look for the disorder.”

Not too long ago, a child who was irritable, moody, and distractible and who at times sounded grandiose or acted without regard for consequences was considered a “handful.” In the U.S. by the 1980s, that child was labeled with a “behavioral disorder” and today that child is being diagnosed as “bipolar” and “psychotic” — and prescribed expensive antipsychotic drugs. Bloomberg News, also on September 4, 2007, reported, “The expanded use of bipolar as a pediatric diagnosis has made children the fastest-growing part of the $11.5 billion U.S. market for antipsychotic drugs.”

Psychopathologizing young people is not the only reason for the dramatic rise in sales of such antipsychotics as Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa and Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal (each, in recent years, grossing annually from $3 to $4 billion). Much of Big Pharma’s antipsychotic boon is attributable to generous U.S. government agencies, especially Medicaid. The Medicaid gravy train has been fueled by Big Pharma corruption so over-the-top that it has been the subject of recent media exposures. [full text]

Sports Inutility

There’s a saying in art — form follows function. There’s beauty in the right tool for the job. Then there’s stupidity like this

TOKYO — When Sadayoshi Ishi drives his Hummer, he takes precautions. He has installed a navigation system that shows wide-open streets in green and more-dangerous narrow streets in pink on a computerized map inside the truck. Periscope-like monitors on each side-view mirror alert him to obstacles.
Ishi isn’t dodging land mines in a desert war zone. The 48-year-old Japanese cartoonist is trying to navigate Tokyo’s urban jungle of streets too narrow for his 2.1-meter-wide vehicle. ‘I broke out in a sweat every time I drove it,’ says Ishi. He now drives his Hummer just once a week to golf games on a predetermined route.

Ishi is one of a growing number of Japanese who are spending more than $100,000 for the military-style H1 Hummer. Mesmerized by the mammoth trucks shown in TV news coverage of the war in Iraq, they are determined to overcome the special problems of driving in Japan.

The Hummer is popular among drivers who want the cachet of war without going to places where people actually shoot at you. But that’s not the only use for a Hummer. Here’s Iwao Makino’s impossible dream…

‘Im just waiting for a typhoon or big disaster to hit Tokyo so I can use my Hummer to rescue people,says Makino. His biggest thrill now is dodging retailer’s street signs when driving to the grocery store and taking his dogs to the park.

Well, maybe Godzilla will come back. Then the guys who forgot to enlist in the coalition of the willing will finally get a chance to see some action.

Meanwhile, back here in the states it seems like a lot of people are not getting the concept of form follows function. You can see by the ads that the Hummer is meant to be driven vertically up remote mountains and into lakes and stuff but most drivers don’t do it. They look for the narrowest streets in Providence, the ones that even a horse and buggy had trouble with, and then they clog up traffic. Until they park on a corner where they block the view of oncoming traffic so that anyone trying to make a left turn sings, ‘nearer my God to thee.’

It’s kinda sad that so many of these macho cars never go anywhere but the burger place and the mall, so General Motors is rumored to be starting a website called ‘Hummer Helps’. Owners can send in photographs of themselves doing heroic stuff. I look forward to that, and the needy should not get upset if a guy in a Hummer shows up in a crisis to take a picture of his cool car. The needy have to take what they can get, right?

Speaking of taking what they can get, whenever I see a Hummer with a business logo painted on I can’t help suspecting that it’s a Corporate Welfare Cadillac. Hummers and other heavy luxury S.U.V.’s qualified for tax breaks that were originally intended to benefit farmers and contractors. That’s why you might see your local florist using a Hummer to deliver some ferns and a few bunches of baby’s breath. The tax exemption was eventually knocked down to $25,000. There were some in Congress who wanted to eliminate it altogether but I can’t find any reports about that after this June. Maybe the bill is languishing somewhere.

$25,000 isn’t much. It’s only a little more than twice the cost of my car when it was new. I spent five years paying it off. I use it when I work, visiting the elderly and disabled. I didn’t get any tax exemption for it. I PAY TAXES ON IT. And then I PAY FOR GAS. SO I CAN DO MY JOB.

Okay, I’m better now. I know that the extra tax burden I carry to subsidize giant luxury vehicles is minuscule compared to what I’ll end up paying for the Iraq War. So it’s okay then.

I think the Hummer Helpers could do more good if they leave their tanks in the driveway until duty calls. A small localized emergency would be best. Otherwise they will end up exacerbating the traffic jam you would get in a really big emergency, like the hundred mile traffic jam from Hurricane Rita in Texas. I’m looking forward to checking out Hummer Helps website when it appears, and I hope that G.M. Corp isn’t discouraged by all the snarking and sarcasm that is already coming their way, like this

GM is asking rescue teams to film themselves using the vehicle in real emergency situations. While the idea is great, acquiring footage will be a difficult challenge for GM, as many rescuers refuse to film themselves in such situations.

Geeze, what wimps. Probably think they’re too busy. I’m not embarrassed to film myself doing good works. The elderly don’t mind. I think. I’m going to call my site, Cheap Little Japanese Car Helps. My car can weave through traffic. It gets thirty-three miles to the gallon. It’s so small that Godzilla won’t even notice it. I’ll count on the Hummers to distract him while I make my escape.

Reed Fights for Kids with Cancer

Senator Jack Reed has achieved success in getting a bill moved forward that will provide $150 million in funding for pediatric cancer prevention, research, treatment, and tracking. From Reed’s office:

Reed’s Bill to Expand Childhood Cancer Research Clears Major Hurdle

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee today gave its stamp of approval to Jack Reed’s (D-RI) Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2007. This legislation authorizes $150 million over five years to expand childhood cancer research, create a national childhood cancer registry to track pediatric cancer, and increase services to patients and families affected by the disease.

“I am pleased that the HELP Committee approved this critical legislation. While we have made great steps in treating cancer, there is still much more to be done. The Conquer Childhood Cancer Act will deliver much needed hope and support to children and families battling cancer and more resources for vital pediatric cancer research programs,” said Reed, a senior member of the HELP Committee.

Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children. There are about 9,500 new cases of pediatric cancer each year, and the incidence of cancer in children is increasing. The causes of childhood cancer are largely unknown.

Just a few weeks ago, the Director of the National Cancer Institute said that a barrier to fighting cancer is finding the resources to invest adequately in research. Declining funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials has stopped promising clinical trials. At a recent NCI meeting, pediatric cancer researchers were told to expect another 5 percent cut in funding this year.

Also of interest is this video created by parents of children who have suffered from cancer:

The script for the video notes:

Research has improved cure rates, but not enough.

Funding for research has been cut.

This could result in 20 new studies being put on hold.

400 kids will not be able to participate in clinical trials next year… leaving better treatments further from reach.

If it was YOUR child, would this be acceptable?

You can help…

Write your representatives in Congress. Urge them to pass the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act and restore funding.

For the thousands fighting today… and the thousands yet to begin their fight.

One child lost is one too many.

One child saved… can change the world.

Howie Barte to Publicize Concrete Plant Fiasco

Here’s the latest for Cranston Citizens for Responsible Zoning and Development:

RETENTION OF HOWIE BARTE

CRANSTON, RI: Cranston Citizens for Responsible Zoning & Development (“CCRZD”) announces the retention of Howie Barte, as PR Representative to act as its chief spokesperson as it escalates a public crusade to defeat the full scale concrete batching plant project which remains half constructed on Marine Drive .

Until December 6, 2006, Mr. Barte was a centrist talk show host on WHJJ. In the fall of 2006, both he and his co-host Arlene violet were let go after a station buyout. Prior to that, he served as an air traffic controller for 33.5 years with the FAA at T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island. During this time, he was co- founder of National Air Traffic Controller Association (NATCA). Being a NATCA Labor Activist, he has extensive dealings with national and regional press sources. He has also served in the U. S. Navy during the Vietnam conflict, and has lived in many countries.

Over 1, 000+ active members are entrusting Mr. Barte will persuade Cranston’s current elected officials to now act in the best interest of their residents. He will be responsible for further drawing attention to the corruption and outright violations of law which have plagued the complex Permit given to Cullion. To date, the Mayor and many other public officials have [side]stepped, declined or actually opposed investigating the unusually rapid and cursory 11 day permitting process tied to the approval of the concrete plant project in March of 2006, leading many local residents to believe they have not only abdicated their duties as representatives of the constituents who elected them to protect their health, safety, property values and the integrity of their neighborhoods.

Mr. Barte was clear in expressing his priorities and goals in stating, ” Not only is this assignment about holding the feet of elected Cranston officials to the fire and changing their attitudes with respect to the acceptance and misrepresentation of corruption of this magnitude, but it also entails persuading such embedded politicians to enforce laws and standards they clearly have had no choice in ignoring. Never before in my career as a talk show host or public rights advocate have I seen an example of runaway corruption combined with a clear plan to evade existing environmental, safety, zoning and building code laws to the extent embodied in the Cranston Marine Drive fiasco. This may be the first time in Rhode Island history where successive city administrations of both political parties have joined to perpetuate such an enormous cover-up of clear corruption at taxpayer expense,” continued Barte.

In response to questions relating to why the highly charged and controversial concrete plant project has yet to attract more than local media coverage Howie Barte was direct in his response by stating, “unfortunately local reporters always fear that really exposing the scope of corruption tied to a project such as the Cranston concrete plant will forever close the door to their all important access to a current City administration thus almost cutting off their livelihoods and career paths regional and national media organizations never worry about such matters and for me obtaining such elevated coverage will be job one. Let’s face it from a regional or national perspective this story has everything, public corruption, deceit, conspiracy as well the fact that a true airing of the facts in question may very well determine who is elected the next Mayor of Cranston or Governor of Rhode Island. From this point on the local rules don’t apply in my opinion – stay tuned.” added Barte.

Hmm, the next Governor of Rhode Island — I wonder who he could possibly be referring to…

Solar Tax Credit to be Cut from Energy Bill

A rollback of the advancements for solar and wind energy is in the works: according to this article by Toby Barlow at Huffington Post, Pelosi and Reid are planning to cut (or have already cut) the Solar Investment Tax Credit from the energy bill now being considered by Congress. From the article:

Pelosi and Reid are just about to do the stupidest thing imaginable: pull the rug out from underneath the blossoming renewable energy economy at the time when we need it most.

(Start reaching for your phone…)

Just as every single magazine in the country is giving the energy crisis more press than Paris Hilton, and just as renewable energy is becoming the entrepreneurial equivalent of the internet revolution and just as the news about climate change is getting weirder and scarier every time we open the freakin’ paper, our crazy-assed Democratic leaders are completely dropping the ball, and you gotta call Capitol Hill right now and tell them to get their head’s straight fast.

As Adam Browning of Vote Solar put it: “Thursday morning, Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi decided to drop the renewable energy standard out of the energy bill and drop the tax title. No tax title means no extension of the investment tax credit for solar, and no extension of the production tax credit for wind. Let’s see…nothing for solar, plus nothing for wind, hmmm, add no renewable energy standard, carry the zero…yep, that adds up to precisely nothing for renewable energy.”

Got that? Congressional leadership is moving an energy bill with nothing in it for renewable energy. Dropping the biggest pro-solar provision this country has ever seen, just when the industry is gaining momentum and making an impact.”

According to Adam, we’ve got maybe 24 hours to turn this around. 24 hours. That’s not a lot of time.

Now he suggested a script to use when you call the Hill, but mine is better, it goes like this:

‘Hi Senator Pelosi? Um, 90% of America, would like more renewable energy and you are ignoring them? So you’re either crazy or you are possessed by the devil. Which one is it? I hope you’re possessed by the devil because insanity takes years of therapy to cure and we are running out of time but all you need to get rid of Satan is a flask of holy water and a sober village priest. So, get your exorcism on sister and get the 8-year extension for the solar investment tax credits in the energy bill. Do it, do it now. Thank you very much.’

You can use the same script for Reid, only don’t call him “sister.”

Pelosi’s offices number is 202- 225-4965
Reid’s office’s number is 202-224-3542

Then you should call your Congressman or woman and get all fired up on this too. You can find your congressional leader here. Tell ‘em stuff like this:

* Clean energy means jobs and energy independence.
* America needs carbon-free renewable energy immediately. Tons of it.
* Renewable energy is a key component in the war against climate change.
* The energy bill must extend investment tax credits for solar.
* Yes, you know you are shouting, it’s just that you are really very pissed off about this and you really want them do something about it.

Come on, Act Now!

This is really serious stuff. This is a call to arms. We’re fighting a two front war against climate change and woefully short sighted politicians. Call your friends, aunts, uncles, the whole lot of them. Get everyone dialing. Today.

Because time is running out in more ways than one.

Dan Berrigan at Brown

The popular history of the Vietnam War years is one of mass protests and fervent activism. It is also one of outstanding individuals. One of the veterans of the peace movement Fr. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., will be speaking at Brown Tuesday evening with Lynne Sachs, a documentary film maker. Fr. Berrigan has continued his work for peace and against torture. He will have much to say about our current debate. The talk is free and open to the public through Brown Department of Modern Culture and Media.

Lynne Sachs & Daniel Berrigan
Investigation of a Flame Film Followed by Discussion with directors
6:00 p.m. – Tuesday, Novemvber 13
Room 101
135 Thayer Street, Providence, R.I.

6th Graders Back to Elementary Schools

This update is from Cranston School Committee member Steve Stycos:

The Cranston Middle School Study Committee is considering whether to move the sixth grade back to elementary schools. The committee has met about six times, but no decisions have been made. The administration, which proposed moving the sixth grade to elementary schools, has examined classroom space and scheduling changes that would result from the move.

According to their proposal, all current elementary schools could house the sixth grade except Barrows, Waterman, Woodridge and Gladstone. By utilizing empty classrooms and converting rooms now used exclusively for art and music, the sixth grade would fit. For this plan to work, according to the administration, two portable classrooms would be moved to Arlington to accommodate all the kindergarten students who would normally attend Gladstone. When those children are ready for first grade, they would move to Gladstone. In the same way, Waterman kindergartners would attend Garden City and then go to Waterman until sixth grade. Due to its small size, Barrows indergartners and first graders would have to attend Edgewood Highland before going to Barrows. In addition, a portable classroom would be added at Woodridge to handle the sixth grade.

The study committee includes three school committee members (Deb Greifer (Ward 2), Andrea Iannazzi (Ward 5) and me (Ward 1)), three parents (Barbara Gordon, Anne Marie Simeone and Tammy Donley), two administrators (assistant superintendent Peter Nero and Park View principal Jay DeCristofaro), two teachers’ union representatives (union vice president Liz Larkin and Park View technology teacher Ken Bowling) and one parent alternate (Mike Stanton). School committee chairman Mike Traficante has also attended most of the meetings.

The committee will be meeting November 13, 20 & 27 at 7 PM in the Briggs Building conference room. All meetings are open to the public. We hope to make a recommendation to the school committee at its December 12 meeting. No school committee vote would be taken, however, until the December 17 meeting. We will certainly have public comment at the December 17 meeting and perhaps December 12 also.

Most likely, I will support the administration’s plan because I think smaller schools work better than larger schools. Middle school enrollment has declined slightly in recent years, but currently stands at 781 at Park View, 711 at Bain and 1128 at Western Hills.

I also worry that without a shift of students to the elementary schools there will be financial pressure to close more elementary schools and spend millions to expand our middle schools. Elementary schools are key links in neighborhoods that should be preserved. Finally, I think many elementary school students, perhaps most, would be better served by spending another year in smaller more personal elementary schools.

The administration supports the shift to sixth grade to save money. We have yet to receive any details, however. At a minimum, we would be able to eliminate one assistant principal at each middle school, saving more than $300,000 a year. The teachers’ union representatives are critical of the proposed shift of sixth grade. Their primary concerned appears to be possible job losses.

I am concerned about a number of aspects of the plan:

1) Barrows children going to Edgewood Highland for kindergarten and first grade: Barrows unfortunately has a lot of small rooms which are too small for classrooms. I have asked the administration to look at the possibility of moving some walls to create another class room. If this is possible, then only the kindergarten would need to go to Edgewood and the Head Start program could stay at Edgewood. If not, Head Start may have to move to Bain.

2) Population projections: At my request, the administration has asked the planning department to make population projections. Ignoring these projections can be very expensive. In 2001, the school committee and superintendent Catherine Ciarlo refused to scale back the Orchard Farms design, despite population projections that such a monstrous school was not needed. Today the school has six classrooms that are empty or used for other things. Hope Highlands, the overcrowded school that caused
Orchard Farms to be built, now also has six available classrooms. The administration’s plan may work for the next few years, but we need to be sure there is not a population increase coming that will make the plan unworkable in the longer term.

3) Teacher training. The committee has yet to discuss how middle school teachers who are transferred to elementary schools will be retrained.

4) Middle school curriculum: Previously, the school committee voted to approve Superintendent Rick Scherza’s recommendation that middle school students study a foreign language four days a week. This issue is not directly related to the sixth grade issue, but also needs to be watched. A four day a week middle school language program will be a tremendous and long overdue improvement. (The current program is two days a week and as a result children learn next to no foreign language as a result.)

I urged the administration, however, to look at allowing children other options in seventh and eighth grades. Some children may want to take a language, others may be better served by taking more art, music, technology or family and consumer science classes. The administration plans to offer a supplemental reading class to children who are two grade levels behind in reading (approximately ten to fifteen percent of all students at Bain and Park View), but no decision has been made on other options.

5) Tracking and underrepresented groups: Once we finish with the sixth grade issue, the committee will examine secondary school groupings and the low number of boys and minorities in the high classes. Last year, for example, Cranston East was 8 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic and 49 percent male. Of the 174 students taking Honors English, however, only one was black and seven were Hispanic. Only 30 percent were males. At
West, which has a small minority population, only 22 percent of the Honors English students were male. Numbers are similar for others honors class. I have asked the administration for more information so we can discuss the issue in the future.

There has been no talk of “detracking” middle school classes like the administration attempted this spring.

This issue has been discussed on an email list for the elementary school PTO that my daughter attends. People are worried about possible overcrowding at our school, although we have more space than some other schools. I am glad the administration is attempting to do population projections, as difficult as it might be. One note: as I looked at my daughter’s third grade class picture, I could only find a handful of children whom she had shared other grades with. The population of our area changes quickly, I think partly because there are a lot of duplex rentals. But also, people of every background and income level move in and out of the community. So the idea that you want your child to be in one school for the entirety of their elementary education so that they have the consistency of the same classmates is a bit illusory. In all likelihood they will have mostly different peers each year, plus the remixing of the rooms between the two or three teachers in every grade. The consistency that will make their education quality does not come from the building they are in — it can be provided by a good team of educators in one place one year and another place the next and the education can still maintain its quality and consistency.

But I appreciate how difficult it might be for parents who are facing this decision directly this coming year, and I invite you to comment below in order to try to move toward solutions that protect the quality of education for our children.

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