Eye of the Editors: District of Choice
In the face of the program’s end after 22 years, The Bull’s Eye urges a compromise.
November 10, 2016
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Back in August, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez had made it painfully clear that any attempt to renew the District of Choice program would be met with succinct and undemocratic death. As long as she was in office, there would be little possibility of the current situation being reversed.
However, since then, Gonzalez and Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang have committed to cooperating on a bipartisan solution, according to the District of Choice story on this paper’s front page, with Chang assuring parents that “no one is going to be sent back to their home school.” Walnut Valley Unified is also working with surrounding districts to achieve this goal and has opened applications for new DOC students.
But such claims and actions mean nothing without bills being written in the state legislature. As nothing is certain until this happens, it is wise to assume DOC will not be making a return.
Assembly Bill 1771, jointly introduced by Gonzalez and Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell in February, offered a compromise that would allow current out-of-district students to stay at their current schools until graduation.
The Bull’s Eye believes the bill failed to pass because it would have offered little to the students of Walnut Valley’s three middle schools and nine elementary schools. Over 2,000 of these students would not be able to graduate from Diamond Bar or Walnut, the district’s highly regarded high schools. This solution would prove to be less than desirable and is hardly a compromise.
In lieu of this partial fix, we believe that current K-12 students should be allowed to stay in the district through not just their current schools, but through high school graduation as well. It makes for a terribly unfortunate situation to stunt a student’s progress in the middle of his or her academic career.
This easy fix for the district is no cinch for the students who have created relationships with their schools and the programs offered in them. The district would, however, cease enrolling transfer students the next school year, meaning district funding could possibly face reductions and faculty members could suffer layoffs.
This is simply the coming reality that many California school districts will face, given the current political situation. The best way to deal with this controversy is with a gradual transition to the end of District of Choice, and not the sudden displacement of thousands of students seeking a better education.