For sentimental reasons I’d like to see my alma maters, Northside High and Gordon Elementary Schools, which are on the Shelby County Schools (Memphis) potential chopping block, remain open.  It is for intelligible reasons that I most embrace the notion, however, and others feel and are expressing similar concerns for schools in their communities being potentially closed…

Aside of school closures depreciating communities, students having to walk extensive distances, and often through dangerous areas to get to new or re-assigned schools or bus stops poses valid concerns for student safety; and yet there is an even greater concern, that of homelessness amongst students and other school-age children who should be attending school and are not, due to synonymous hardships, that should be considered before any schools are closed.

School districts, in conjunction with other relevant agencies, should determine the number of all homeless children and families with school-age children who are not enrolled in or attending school, and ration slot provisions for those children and their families, where relevant.

Ideally, homeless families would be rendered housing vouchers for apartments and homes within subject school districts, or near low enrollment schools. Adults in such households should be required to attend school and/or assigned to companies to work, where relevant, and assisted with permanent employment…And just to think that the vast percentage of our and other countries’ homeless populations would be instantaneously serviced/housed, etc. in our school districts, the Department of Family & Children Services, etc. simply performing their legal obligations, WOW…

A little extra space in schools could also leave room for implementation of special programs that might not be availed in other schools with limited space. For example, such schools could offer specialized job training and/or specialty courses, including adolescent parenting programs for students with children and/or childcare certification programs that could benefit low income parents with small children. They could offer literacy, GED or High School Equivalency programs for parents and other family members of students attending those particular schools. The possibilities are endless…

Poor performance should never be the reason a school is closed; rather, school districts should require implementation of proven methods of improving student academic performance at such schools and perform the checks and balances to assure that those requirements are met…

I’d venture to say that the only reasons a school should be closed is if it’s dilapidated and/or poses health or safety risks for students and staff; and then it should be renovated or rebuilt/improved. Additionally, other properties within the communities of such schools should be refurbished to attract potential home buyers and renters. Great deals on commercial properties should be offered to prospective business owners who’d open businesses in those communities…

Schools, above all other establishments, stand as beacons of hope in every community; and no community should be deprived of its own. All schools can achieve excellence, when students are required to show up and learn via demonstrably viable methods of instruction.

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