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The May 5, Hermantown Star defends the Wrenshall Schoolsar

Good competition

School districts should promote


    Healthy competition is good for any industry. It is a statement public education should embrace. The growth over the years of Hermantown is due to several factors, but one of the strongest is its educational system. People with young families want to move to the city for the schools. Many are willing to pay more for their homes to be in this district.

    Open enrollment has maxed out in kindergarten, and students are on the waiting list for 2008-09. That must mean the district is doing something right.

    If Hermantown had plenty of extra room for students, we would expect the school district to welcome more Duluth students whose families are unsure of what the future plans are within their own district. While there were often professional agreements between school districts during the good old boy days, these are different times. Open enrollment allows choice in public school systems and it can provide extra funding for those schools that are doing a good job educating our young people.

     We applaud the Wrenshall School Board for starting to think outside the government box and openly soliciting Duluth students. In an advertisement last week, we saw — “Red PLAN not your plan? Why not change your PLAN and open enroll at Wrenshall today.”

     There is nothing wrong with inviting people to take a look at your product and then make a decision. It happens every day in the private sector.

     Duluth Superintendent Keith Dixon stated in the local daily paper that Wrenshall was trashing his district and putting it down for their own benefit. We do not believe that to be true.

     If the Red Plan was truly as strong as leadership within the Duluth School Districts believes, then the Wrenshall ad would not exist or be worthy of a reply. We believe there will be more districts taking Wrenshall’s lead and going after Duluth students.

     We have stated before that school districts the size of Hermantown should be considered an ideal size for many communities. Schools with 150-250 students per grade are able to offer diverse curriculums and extracurriculars that enable more youths to be involved. How many students, in a school that has over 500 students per grade, never become involved in anything outside of school and often slip through the cracks? There is more of a chance for a young student to never reach their potential because there is not enough staff to closely monitor all of them.

     A larger school district like Duluth is never going to be all things to all students. Whatever it does will bring criticism. We certainly believe some plan is needed for its future, whatever color it is. Leadership in the district deserves some respect for trying to look ahead.

     But smaller school districts struggle in this state, too, and if Wrenshall, which reports around 16 percent of its 360 students are open enrolled, needs to actively recruit to stay open, then what is wrong with that? We have seen small schools close and communities consolidate districts all over the state. If one little district south of Duluth can find a way to offer something better than the big boys, go for it.

     Then maybe someday state officials will come visit our little community and ask the simple question, “what are you doing so right here in Hermantown?”


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