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A teacher's view: Don’t let inequity create rift

I retired from teaching Spanish at Denfeld High School after 30 years in the Duluth public schools on Jan. 21, 2014. I also am a product of the Duluth schools, graduating from Denfeld in 1970. I have seen all kinds of changes and adaptations in education during these years.

I am very concerned about dropping Spanish 5 and German 5 at Denfeld. Actually, I am really shocked this would even be considered.

When the Red Plan was adopted, Duluth chose to close Central High School and remodel the present East and Denfeld high schools. It was promised, agreed upon and understood that both high schools would promote very similar programs for students in the Duluth area. If the Spanish 5 and German 5 are dropped from Denfeld it would continue to create more disparity between the Denfeld area and the East area when they were supposed to be on par with each other. Already the populations of each school are out of sync with East at about 1,600 students and Denfeld at 1,100 students. There are many other differences that were not supposed to exist, such as test scores, the percentage of students eligible to receive free and reduced lunches based on their families’ incomes and too many more.

It appears Duluth is heading toward a future of haves and have-nots between the two schools — with a city that reflects that idea.

Duluth schools Superintendent Bill Gronseth can stop this! It is a small investment to keep a class of 22 students in Spanish 5, as the News Tribune reported the number who had signed up before the class was canceled, and in German 5 for next school year. There are creative solutions within the current administrations of East and Denfeld and a very talented group of language teachers in Independent School District 709. Inequity is not a strong position to present when making critical decisions in curriculum. I urge the superintendent and other school officials to examine all considerations before any final decisions are made to drop these very important classes.

I am very proud of my years of service as a language teacher in the Duluth public schools. My strong desire is to see all students in all areas of Duluth treated with equal opportunities instead of inequities and deficits in programs.

Ann Kucinski of Esko is a retired teacher of Spanish in the Duluth public schools. She sent a version of this to Duluth schools Superintendent Bill Gronseth, Denfeld High School Principal Tonya Sconiers, Duluth School Board members and Duluth language teachers.