Decision to repurpose Lincoln Elementary School will reach far beyond building
A moving and informative commentary that conveys a genuine concern for the people this decision affects. Thanks for your diverse perspective on the many issues involved.
A brilliant, thoughtful, wise set of reflections Jason, both political and sociological and economic and cultural. And appropriately so--with the privatization, outsourcing, and secularization of so much that used to bind communities together through worship, entertainment, and work, the public school system is perhaps the final institution we have that genuinely engages us fully, as citizens and parents and consumers and workers. School closures are terribly hard, and you expressed the mixture of regrets and hopes in the hearts of everyone who has ever been involved in one very well.
Jason: Glad you commented on closing schools. It's always the more powerful trying to shut down the less powerful. When I researched my book "Hallowed Hardwood" on old gyms in Kansas, I traveled the state for 7 years interviewing people. It's always the big city reps of Wichita, Topeka, KC, who think rural schools should not be allowed to exist. Seems like every 4 or 5 years they come up with a jackass consolidation plan. What they do not know is, to shut down a school is like dropping a bomb on a town. You not only kill the school, but kill the identity of the people. So, to shut down a Hutch neighborhood school is to terminate their identity--who we are, where we are from is a terribly important thing, for anyone in America. In Newton, they're going through the same thing. The school board voted to shut down the Walton school, the claim is declining enrollment. Yes, that's a fact, but Walton was a unique agriculture charter school that drew visitors from out of state. If their purpose is to save money by cutting teachers, the teachers were just absorbed into the nearest school in Newton, Northridge. So, it wasn't really that. They just wanted to shut it down to shut it down. Yes, tough decisions by school boards. My dad was on one. But the reasons given are often not what the real reasons are.