by Mitch Meis, Iowa City
On Tuesday, July 19 the voters in the Iowa City Community School District will fill the School Board seat vacated by Tom Yates. This election provides an opportunity for voters to determine what ideals they value and the importance they place on all students in this district attending secondary schools that give them a chance for academic success.
I believe the ICCSD’s top priority should be to create learning environments that provide every student the best opportunity to succeed academically regardless of race, creed or socioeconomic standing. I think this belief reflects the ideals of our progressive community.
Empirical evidence shows that schools balanced on a socioeconomic basis provide all students, especially those from low-income families, the best opportunity to succeed academically compared to public schools where that socioeconomic balance does not exist. In other words, a school with reasonable socioeconomic balance in its student body provides a better learning environment and better educational outcomes than one where low-income students are the majority of a school’s enrollment. Similarly, a socioeconomically and racially mixed learning environment provides all students the chance to learn from their diverse peers who they may not encounter in their neighborhoods.
This election should be about the educational success of all students in the district and not about transportation. The ICCSD can solve transportation barriers far more easily than inequitable learning environments. Prioritizing transportation concerns at the expense of educational opportunities for students is harmful to the very students who can least afford it. Decisions that ignore data showing the benefits of equity in our schools do not reflect the ideals of this community. Paul Roesler believes in equity for all of our students and that is why I am voting for him for school board. I urge you to do the same.