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A young idealist reminds us that every child does matter

January 30, 2002

A young idealist reminds us that every child does matter



Elsewhere on this page is a letter from Alaina J. Rowe, the student representative on the board of education, who provides us with a perspective on redistricting that we haven't heard much - that of the students involved.

Oh yes, we've heard from parents of those who would be affected by the shifting boundary lines, but with a few exceptions, not much from students themselves.

In her letter, Rowe says that what students are interested in is a quality education, and that the biggest factor in how comfortable students are with change is whether they see their parents embrace it fully.

Rowe may be a little bit naive when she says that every decision the board makes is in the best interest of students across the county,

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If that were true, we're not sure some schools would have more than 60 percent of their students eligible for free and reduced-price meals, while other nearby schools have fewer than 25 percent in that category. Economic segregation is a fact of life in Washington County, no matter what we hear about concern for all students.

On that issue, we will be interested to see if when this round of redistricting is done, and Tuesday's vote is taken, the board members who've spoken in favor of "sister schools" - a concept that would end that segregation - keep pressing for that option.

It is easier to believe, based on what we've seen throughout the debate, that it will take another generation to embrace such change, a generation that realizes that children of all economic classes must enjoy the same opportunities if all Americans are to prosper.

We don't expect that realization to pervade the School Board Tuesday night. By their previous votes they've signaled the direction they're likely to take. Those who are concerned about the future of the county school system - and the nation, for that matter - must look to the next generation. We hope that group will include idealists like Alaina Rowe, one student who seems to remember that every child matters, not just a few.

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