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Editorial: Focus arguments on closure, not Koontz kids

It’s shameful that some Faith parents continue to shame Koontz students as low-performing as a central part of their reasoning for why not to move forward with closure.

Arguments for keeping Faith open need not raise the specter that children from impoverished or broken homes will negatively affect standardized test scores of children from Faith. Sure, there’s value in standing up for a community school. And we think there are many good arguments for keeping Faith open, including that it has proven to be one of Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ best. But there’s no need to victim blame.

We’ve heard arguments from some that Koontz students are mean and bully others. Some arguments recommend moving Koontz kids to Faith but avoiding moving Faith kids to Koontz.

What those opposition arguments fail to recognize is that the current proposal would move a majority of Koontz students out to make way for Faith. And statements by Board Member Travis Allen and Superintendent Lynn Moody seem to indicate the same could become true for teachers, certainly for those known as “core teachers.” The school would largely be a relocated Faith Elementary School, regardless of the name on the building.

We think Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board Member Alisha Byrd-Clark said it best Monday when she stood up for Koontz students, who, by the way, aren’t so different from those in Faith.

“When hearing the children at Koontz Elementary referred to as ‘those children,’ as if they are disposable goods, it really bothers me,” Byrd-Clark said. “Regardless of their current station in life, just like the children at Faith Elementary, they too have potential to be great as well as future leaders of the world.”

Test scores in elementary school are not the final arbiter of success for a child and certainly shouldn’t be a crux in arguments against Faith’s closure — something it seemed a plurality of speakers opposed to closure mentioned in their comments to the school board on Monday. There are students in every school who struggle academically because of a difficult home life and that is not their fault.

As we move closer to Monday’s public hearing on Faith’s closure, we hope parents and passionate community members focus on reasons to keep Faith open rather than why Koontz isn’t the best spot to relocate their children.

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