Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Round Rock ISD's Fairness Doctrine

Some of those who adhere to socialism do so out of a sincere, if somewhat naive desire to make life 'fair.'  Despite the good intentions, however, socialism as practically applied rarely results in Utopia.  In the broader scheme, socialism concentrates an inordinate amount of power in the hands of bureaucrats and degrades standards of living for most citizens.  In the daily details, socialist policy often results in logical absurdity. 

Take the case of an ongoing controversy in the Round Rock Independent School District. Back in 2008, the ISD approved a plan to construct new athletic buildings on the Round Rock High School campus. The buildings were completed and opened this year, and students have been enjoying them since the school year began. With a growing student population, RRHS faculty were enthusiastic about the additional space and planned accordingly. The RRHS Booster club even raised private money to update the older facilities and improve the media room for the school's use.  However in August, RRISD Superintendent Jesus Chavez informed school administrators that they could not use the old buildings, including the media room.
Why did Superintendent Chavez prohibit use of the old buildings? Were they unsafe? No, and actually the district plans to rent them out on the weekends. Did budget cuts affect the school's ability to maintain them? No. Allegedly, what Chavez told administrators is that Round Rock High School could not use the buildings because the other High Schools in the District each have only two buildings to use and it wouldn't be fair.
I do not know what prompted the construction of the two new buildings. If the older buildings are perfectly acceptable, one might question the wisdom in constructing new buildings, however, at some point the decision was made to add two new buildings. Documents from the original master plan, make no mention of closing or demolishing the older buildings, and it seems obvious the new construction was considered by faculty to be an addition.

Now, RRHS has two buildings on campus that are closed to their usage because it wouldn't be fair to students at say, Westwood High School? This seems a rather odd policy and the implications are disturbing. Cedar Ridge High School has it's own coffee bar (yes, for the students.) Round Rock HS does not. Shouldn't we close the coffee bar?  Is the plan to make each campus identical to every other campus?

This order from the Superintendent defies logic and the implications are deeply troubling.  Should we adress injustice in our society?  Absolutely.  However, the theology of 'fairness,' often interpreted to mean 'sameness,' is unworkable and illogical.  Understandably, parents of RRHS students are very upset and have asked the School Board to address this issue.  The topic will be on the agenda for tomorrow night's board meeting, and those concerned are encouraged to attend.   

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