Feeding into the stigma

The new straight feeder patterns create disadvantages

Katie Bullock, Editor-in-chief

editorial cartoon by Alyssa Magrone

With the new straight feeder patterns, the North Kansas City School District’s disregard for the importance of balanced socioeconomic class will reduce Winnetonka to a stereotypical low-income, low-performing school unless the district takes action to treat Winnetonka equitably.

The new boundary lines will hurt Winnetonka by lowering its overall student achievement. Students from Antioch made up nearly half of the 2016 graduating class’s top 10 percent based on GPA. The straight feeder pattern removes these students from Winnetonka’s attendance area. This has potential to showcase Winnetonka’s students as having less opportunities and a more difficult learning environment.

Studies show that due to a lack of parental support, students of lower socioeconomic class are less likely to learn leadership skill and more likely to  feel as if they do not belong in the education system. This leads students to have behavioral problems. Many Antioch students serve as peer models that demonstrate these leadership and behavioral skills to the other students. By removing them from Winnetonka’s attendance area, students will be less likely to learn these life skills.

Winnetonka will also lose valuable parent support through booster clubs and other volunteer activities. Once the feeder pattern is implemented, Antioch parents will no longer help Winnetonka and its community will shrink. Winnetonka families and clubs are already stretched thin financially. By further removing higher socioeconomic class there, will be even less money to go around and thus less opportunities for Winnetonka students.

Even though North Kansas City High School (NKCHS) will have a higher rate of free and reduced lunch, they still have many small, high income neighborhoods such as Briarcliff, that will provide parent support. They will also have peer model students in the IB program. Oak Park will not need much more support from the district since they will be receiving many high achieving students from Antioch that Winnetonka is losing. Staley will not need as much support as Winnetonka since their boundary lines do not change and since they already have a very low rate of free and reduced lunch.

The district claims that the new straight feeder pattern will build a stronger community. While it is true straight feeder patterns foster a sense of community, that community must be balanced. The district should have created boundary lines that better balanced Winnetonka’s socioeconomic class, that way the new feeder pattern would have been beneficial instead of detrimental.

Since Winnetonka will have such a low socioeconomic majority, the district must fund it in a way that shows their willingness to treat us equitably and not equally to the other four high schools. Once the straight feeder patterns are in place, the district must evaluate and observe the communities surrounding Winnetonka to help students receive the academic resources needed to succeed.