The Local Option

Azzizi Jasper, my favorite poet, advocates going local when it comes to schools and churches

We need to get back to NEIGHBORHOOD schools, NEIGHBORHOOD organizations and NEIGHBORHOOD churches. Bussing your kids to Ada, Kentwood (where I went), Forest Hills, EGR etc is a divestment in our city and it leads to lack of leadership and apathy. Traveling miles to a church that doesn’t work to beautify the neighborhood around it (Or one that’s not in a neighborhood at all) doesn’t build community. Build YOUR community and “The Kingdom” will follow.

I’m slightly cautious about neighborhood schools for this: the “neighborhood” often becomes a way of functionally blocking poor and minority families. One school for East, another for GRPS as it were. Being on the old side of things I remember when this was a real problem, when real estate determined your options. The one thing about choice in education is the way it erodes this reification.

That said, choice that simply has families schlepping their kids half way across the county is at best a temporary thing. And Azzizii is absolutely right that it does little to nourish communities or local connections, the seedbed for long-lasting reform and excellence.

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