On Friday, November 22, 2019, the Howard County Board of Education in Maryland approved a redistricting plan that will force thousands of its elementary and secondary students to attend a different school next year.
Overcrowded schools have led the Board of Education to pass a plan that has sparked tense debate among school and county officials, parents and students. There are all manner of concerns, frustration and backlash expressed for or against the Board's plans that ultimately illustrate an increasing gap between issues of addressing equality v. equanimity. These, however, are effects, not the root cause of overcrowding.
Interestingly enough, the opening line of the previous November 21st article, "What Howard County's Population, Demographic Data Tell You About The School Redistricting Battle" states clearly:
Population growth and migration among Maryland and Virginia counties is causing county school boards to rethink how they draw new public school boundaries.
What is truly remarkable is that no discussions are taking place to actually solve overcrowding. All expressions in favor of or opposition to redistricting were focused on how to manage the de facto decision to chart a course that assumes continued population growth!
More people place more demands for space, in this case to either expand on existing schools or build new ones. More people require more living space which means competing for land to either build more housing or yet another school. Pressures that mount regarding socio-economic gaps will grow in spite of all efforts to put a band-aid (redistricting, in this case) on the problem if population numbers remain too high.
Almost all U.S. population growth is driven by Immigration. Population in Howard County has quintupled since 1970 and has grown 12.5% just between 2000 and 2018 and is still growing. Every effort locally as well as nationally to mitigate inequality and equanimity gaps will worsen over time and be undermined. It is past time to realize that solutions to our society's ills, have to involve consideration for how many people we can sustain, not just how many more we can contain. Slow the flow so our children have room to grow.
Lower immigration to sustainable levels.
Updated: Tue, Dec 17th 2019 @ 3:55pm EST