“Look,” said Imaginary Spokesperson, “we didn’t actually tell poor kids to fuck off.”
The real spokesperson Karen Lombard said the students could find “other” Head Start programs and that Dayton Public Schools is putting more preschools in the new school buildings, including ones for special needs students.1
Mind you, these are preschools with 28-student maximums. As someone who’s taught 28 college students, the idea of providing increased and individualized attention to 28 preschoolers is bloody hilarious. And check this out from the article:
Dayton Public is shutting down its program at a time when Ohio is falling behind in educating at-risk preschoolers, according to a national report card released Monday.
In fact, prior cuts to Head Start programs “just happened” (that’s sarcasm quotes, folks) to correspond to Ohio dropping from ranking 19th in 2001-2002 to 36th a decade later. So color me skeptical that Dayton Public’s “optimism” (I wish that was sarcasm quotes) that these kids will still be served has any basis in reality.
This strikes me the same way token “diversity councils” (you know the kind – the ones that have an annual potluck but don’t question racial disparities in hiring or gender disparities in restrooms) serve as a way to appear to be doing something while knowing full well that they’ll never succeed.
Net result: The kids who need the extra help the most, in our supposedly “great leveler” of an education system, get to start out behind the kids who already have all the advantages.
Whether Dayton Public Schools is saying it aloud or not, their actions definitely have a clear message to those who need the most help.2
On her webpage, the Superintendent Lori Ward says “[We will make] Dayton Public Schools a place where every student is challenged and supported.”
Keepin’ it classy, Superintendent. Keepin’ it classy.
1 Nothing like stigmatizing the kids right off the bat!
2 Feel free to point out the correlations between race and poverty levels here as well.