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
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