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By The Commentators

Support and Protect Diversity

By The Commentators Posted April 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

You probably already know that it takes a village to raise a child. But did you know that the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School District is recommending turning one of its best known and best loved little villages, Frank Porter Graham Elementary, into a dual-language Spanish magnet school?

This would displace more than 400 students, including some of the most vulnerable in the district. We would lose so much more than classrooms and a gym; we would lose a vibrant, thriving, and exceptionally diverse community. 

Did you know that there are over 40 nationalities represented at FPG? Managing the needs of them all is tough, but thanks to a great new principal, supportive staff and teachers, and involved parents, FPG saw the largest improvement in test scores in the ENTIRE district last year, all while supporting the district’s most racially, ethnically, and economically varied collection of students. The entire community should celebrate this success and diversity, not dismantle it.

FPG provides unique services to the Karen and Burmese communities that no other school currently provides: These refugees who fled for their lives with little more than the clothes on their backs now walk to PTA meetings, visit the classrooms, and have playdates with our kids. FPG is their new village. Last week more than 50 Karen and Burmese parents attended the Chapel Hill Carrboro School Board meeting to oppose this new plan. The Karen have been forced out of one community.  Let’s not do that to them again.

We support dual language education; we propose that we work closely with school administration and the School Board to create an open and transparent discussion that meets the needs of all our students while protecting the most vulnerable.  With two new elementary schools opening in the next few years, there are many options that would displace NO students while also advancing the goals of dual language. And that way, everybody wins.

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