Dear Students, Community Members and Supporters of North High School,
As a long time resident of North Minneapolis, and someone deply concerned about the viability and growth of this neighborhood and all neighborhoods that make up North Minneapolis, my position is that North High School should remain open until we have had a true community wide dialogue regarding education, housing and public investment with a clear commitment to the near north section of Minneapolis.
When I reflect over the last half decade, I do not recall forthright conversations about the future of North High School. What has taken place though is... ...a slow grind out of existence for North High.
There are over 260 students currently enrolled and attending North High School. These children and their families are the most directly affected by the proposed high school closure. Several questions and concerns come to mind regarding the proposed closure:
What is Minneapolis Public School's (MPS) overall plan to provide a quality high school education for children in near north Minneapolis? Closing a high school is not a plan, but one strategy to accomplish the goals of a plan.
What course of action has taken place to include these families of the currently enrolled and attending students in the decision making process to close their school?
Is MPS planning to introduce a high quality, safe and convenient educational alternative to the remaining high school aged students in Near North Minneapolis?
Finally, North High School, similar to other high schools in Minneapolis, is a central component of a viable neighborhood. High schools provide a sense of belonging, cohesion, and pride. Removing the neighborhood high school will produce an anemic commercial climate, raise doubts about public safety, and the effet is the mixing together of ingredients to create a slum. May there never be such a place in Minnesota.
Let us recognize the threat in front of us for what it is. The loss of North High School cannot be another step in a downward spiral towards making an isolated, neglected, impoverished section of town. Rather, let this be a moment where we reach out and reverse the trend. Let us use the North High crisis to make a commitment to our wonderful neighborhood. Let us keep North High open while we have a community discussion about our future, together. Let us not talk about divesting in North High School, but turn the discussion to one of how we can re-invest in the entire North side of which North High School is an important part.