Don’t assume voters would ‘never’ eliminate Montclair magnet system (Letter to the editor)
Montclair's magnet school system is the pride of this town. People who move here (even those without children) value the diversity that it brings. The beauty of the system is that it doesn't bind residents to their neighborhood because children can attend school in other parts of town. Magnet schools help to alleviate the town's segregation by race and class, which is a serious problem in Essex County and other parts of New Jersey.
I don't hear anyone who supports an appointed board saying that our schools couldn't be improved. But it is pure folly to think that an elected school board will protect our magnet schools. Already there are rumblings about dismantling our district's system of transportation, which is the cornerstone of a successful magnet program (How else could kids get to school across town with busy parents and caregivers who work?). People are too sophisticated to say the bad part out loud. So instead we hear sly references to "busing," which has long been racial code. Or they say that the school budget could be reduced by using money currently allocated for "busing" to "other purposes." There it is — the camel's nose under the tent.
Why do people think we can protect our magnet schools by injecting money and politics into our system? Perhaps because they don't know the history of our magnets and how hard it was to establish them. Or perhaps because they assume that people would "never" vote to eliminate them. I can think of a certain other election outcome that people thought would "never" happen. Let's not be naive.
Don't jeopardize our magnet schools. Vote no on an elected board.
Elise C. Boddie
Montclair Local's Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.
Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email email@example.com, or mail "Letters to the Editor," 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer's name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.
Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week's Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.
Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our "Town Square" banner. "Town Square" essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org at least seven days prior to publication.