Fundamental parents group says no to Jamerson feeder
The issue of whether Jamerson Elementary magnet students should get the same access to Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School as fundamental students is back. Some board members said last year they wanted the practice to end, but they ultimately voted to continue the feeder pattern until they could talk about it some more. Now they're doing just that, which prompted the following letter, sent to members and interim superintendent John Stewart Monday, from the Fundamental Schools Advocacy Network. (The letter refers to a proposed policy change that's on the board agenda for initial approval tonight.)
School Board Members and Dr. Stewart,
FAN (Fundamental Schools Advocacy Network) has reviewed the proposed changes to Policy 2250 concerning Fundamental Schools, Magnet Programs and Career Academies and we have concerns.
FAN strongly urges you to consider the implications of allowing a non-fundamental school to have a priority into a fundamental program. We regret that any child who wants to attend a fundamental school must be denied this great opportunity and be placed on a long wait list. Given the district's limited capacity, we feel strongly that ALL students new to the fundamental program be given equal opportunity through the application process. To give Jamerson students this proposed priority is simply unfair to all other Pinellas students and may not be the best "fit" for them with Bay Point Middle School offering a much more established, more closely aligned magnet program.
The following statement distributed in an e-mail from the Jamerson PTA President causes us great alarm in that Thurgood Marshall is not being considered equal to our other fundamental programs:
"The reality is that Thurgood has moved away from being strictly a fundamental school over the years. Whether this is good or not is not what is currently being debated at this point. Thurgood is still fundamental in the behavior and parental involvement aspects, but has certainly branched out when it comes to curriculum. Engineering is directly mentioned within the STEAM program, and is incorporated in many ways throughout the school day. So, really Thurgood should be thought of as an APPLICATION school, as Jamerson is, as opposed to a fundamental one."
FAN is extremely concerned about maintaining the integrity of the established, highly successful fundamental program. This change will set a dangerous precedent.
We urge you to oppose this proposed change to established fundamental school policies.