We hate to say we told you so, but Abby Freedman, RED BROWARD’s “favorite” Broward School Board Member, has unleashed hell upon the residents of Parkland. On October 4, 2013, Ms. Freedman submitted six school boundary proposals affecting residents in the northwest section of Parkland known as “The Wedge”. Freedman claims the changes will help alleviate future overcrowding once homes are built within “The Wedge”, but in typical Freedman fashion, her proposals go way overboard.
Freedman tried to explain her logic to the Sun-Sentinel. “I am extremely concerned with the overcrowding that results from new development,” she said. “People would like their children near their home, I can understand and appreciate that. But if the only way to get you a seat near your home is for another child to get up and give you their seat, I don’t think the child currently in the seat would want to give it up.”
Freedman’s C12 proposal would pluck Parkland high school students out of Marjory Stone Douglas High School and force them to travel more than 14 miles to Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach. Freedman says this proposal would enable Stoneman Douglas to meet class size reduction goals and “prevent overcrowding.” Freedman says this proposal would have “no impact” on diversity.
Sure, her proposal would assign a “portion” of wedge residents to Coral Springs High School which is only 6 miles away. But why did Freedman include Blanche Ely in her proposal? Several local high schools are closer to “The Wedge” such as Coral Glades and Taravella. Both of those high schools are in Freedman’s district. Ely is located in district 7 which is represented by Nora Rupert.
According to Google maps, these schools are quite the hike from Freedman’s Parkland home. Ely is 14.2 miles away from Casa de Abby. That 24 minute car ride would be much longer for Parkland kids taking the bus. Coral Springs High School is just 6.3 miles away from stately Freedman Manor. Not too bad, especially considering Freedman makes her own child travel 19.2 miles to the
ultra-snooty private Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale.
Hey, wait a minute, two of the Charter Schools USA honchos are bigwigs at Pine Crest. Maybe Freedman should look them up and say “hi”?
Back in 1999, the same Sun-Sentinel reporter wrote about Blanche Ely, the woman not the school. “Blanche Ely was known to meet new teachers at the bus stop, take them by the hand… She demanded her students dream and achieve their goals through education, and told the teachers to not dare be ‘dream killers.’
She fought, although unsuccessfully, for year-round education — not wanting ‘her’ children to leave school in the winter to pick beans. And she managed to get better facilities and scholarships for her students.”
When she first became principal, the school was named Pompano Beach Negro High School. In 1954, its name was changed to Blanche Ely Negro High. “It closed on a desegregation order in 1970, and reopened in 1974 to honor Ely and her husband, Joseph Ely, also an influential black educator in Broward.”
Today school district statistics show Ely has a 83% African American population. Just 4.40 of its students are white. Over at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, white students make up 60% of the enrollment while just 10.6% are African American.
No matter the real reasons behind Freedman’s proposal, she should not using Parkland school kids and their parents as bargaining chips. More importantly, she should NEVER use the fine principal, teachers and students at Ely as some sort of threat to hang over the suburbs of western Broward.
How dare you, Abby?
When Ms. Ely spoke everyone listened. “At parent-teacher meetings, she got standing-room-only attendance. Everyone knew Ely had something important to say, from telling people whom to vote for to telling them what was happening at school.” Abby, tonight at 6:30pm your meeting will be packed because you’re playing games with parents, students. lawmakers and businesses.
How dare you sully the reputation of Blanche Ely. Have you no shame?