Labor Voices: Closing schools would cause harm
Closing a neighborhood school can be devastating for students, families and communities. And what does it solve? Shutting down schools does nothing to address complex problems — a truth conveniently ignored by proponents of school choice who push monetizing public education as a magic bullet.
In reality, all of the “failing” schools identified by the state School Reform Office exist in high-poverty communities. That is no coincidence — but rather could have been predicted. Using standardized test scores as the sole determinant of school performance guarantees that low-income communities will be targeted for punitive measures.
State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, recently introduced legislation to repeal the law creating the SRO. Pavlov, chair of the Senate Education Committee, called the law “deeply flawed,” stating, “In the six years the law has existed, it has produced more questions than answers and more controversy than solutions.”
Many school leaders were angered to learn that parents received letters from the SRO announcing their children’s schools were slated for closure — without first alerting the district about the notices. Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Mike Rice called it “disruptive to our students and families.”