April 11, 1998

Harry Welty, Chairperson, ISD 709 School Board
201 E 4th St.
Duluth, MN 55812

Dear Chairperson Welty:

Listening to you Thursday night on "News Night" as you extolled the virtues of reform in public education was fascinating. You use words well. One of your comments was of particular interest to me. In response to Mr. Peterson's observation that Edison is providing only what parents in Duluth have been asking for for years, you replied that in your experience, "Public education is a bit of a lumbering giant with a tremendous amount of inertia. It is very difficult to get us to change."

Edison Kenwood is a K-5 elementary for good reason. Surely their own research would indicate that it is simply the best configuration. Those in the east end of Duluth have waited a long time to have just that in their elementary schools. They never wanted 5-8 middle schools. They never believed it was a good plan for their children. The Family Survey and School Assessment from last year shows that 70% of east end middle school parents want a 6-8 rather than a 5-8 configuration and 75% of the Woodland teachers would prefer 6-8. Once again, all they are asking for in their schools is what Edison is being praised for and that includes a K-5 configuration in elementary.

The parents have already waited 5 years for this. It is not a difficult decision to make. If it is best for kids (and Edison and all other ISD 709 schools believe it is), and if parents and teachers want it, then make the decision. But why add to the inertia by waiting another year? Why have such a difficult time with change? Make the decision now for this year. 372 more children will benefit.

Thank you.


Margo Dallos

P.S. Please understand that I am addressing only the East Duluth elementary schools. This does not include Lakewood which is working very well as it is and does not need "fixing". Thank you.