The following letter to the editor by Barbara Buss appeared in the June 23 Press-Citizen:
I am writing to endorse the letters to the Iowa City Press-Citizen that have been written in opposition to the closing of Hoover Elementary School. I’m not writing to add facts to their arguments, but rather to reinforce the point that neighborhoods are lost when their schools are closed — a point so eloquently presented in a letter by Karen McDonald on May 22. Well-run communities need to take efficiency into account in their administration, but they should not be governed by efficiency alone.
I’m aware that Iowa City is not Chicago, and that the issues facing our school system are not those with which Chicago must contend. But when I read the following paragraph from “There Goes the Neighborhood School,” by Jennifer C. Berkshire, in the December issue of “The Progressive” about the Chicago system, I thought of ours: “When the city of Chicago shuttered some fifty neighborhood schools last year, officials used antiseptic-sounding words like ‘underperformance’ and ‘underutilization.’ But visit neighborhoods that bore the brunt of the closings, as I did recently, and you’ll hear that the battle over the city’s schools is about something much larger: the future of the city itself and who gets to live here.”
By opposing the closing of Iowa City’s neighborhood schools, one is supporting the future of Iowa City as a community. It is therefore important that we ask those responsible for shaping this future for a clear description of their visions for Iowa City as a healthy community. It will then be the responsibility of the citizens to vote for candidates on the basis of these stated visions, and not be misled by “antiseptic sounding words.”