Governor saves white schools from closing
Carroll County, a rural county in Maryland, needs to close three schools. School closure is a problem that mainly urban districts face, but it is also a problem that rural counties also face because of declining enrollment. Closing schools is a policy move that teachers, parents, and students in urban areas have fought tooth and nail in Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. In Chicago, supporters even launched a hunger strike to save one closing school, Dyett High School.
Although rural districts like Carroll County face school closure, the residents do not have to go to such extreme lengths to save their schools. The governor of Maryland recently announced that he would give $4 million dollars to Carroll County schools to “buy the district some time.” The governor was quoted as saying, “They’ve had some real problems in the community, people concerned they didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the declining enrollments and handling these school closures, so we thought it was the best thing to do and give them a little more time to try and figure out a better plan.”
This would make sense if funds were doled out equitably in the state. Down the road from Carroll County, about 20 miles away, is Baltimore. Baltimore is facing the closure of 26 of its schools. The governor has not provided any additional funds to assist the school board in its process nor to help the public prepare and to figure out a better plan. Not only is this unfair, but Baltimore’s schools serve poor and black students, Carroll County serves mainly white students. This move by the governor shows a blatant disrespect toward a black community, when it is going through the same problems as a white one with its schools.
The governor called this move to help the rural district “common sense.” Yet, it is this particular kind of common sense that has dismantled schools that serve black and brown children, while schools that serve white children stay in tact. There is not much common sense to the idea of helping one district and not another, to supporting some children and not others. There is no common sense in that.