“We must not continue to welcome into Madison more at-risk populations from elsewhere because we will never have sufficient resources to provide for them.”
This attitude makes me sick.
We are a wealthy and prosperous city in what by any standard is a wealthy and prosperous nation. Maybe some can enjoy their wealth and prosperity while turning their back on the less fortunate or in Alder Phan-Remmele’s words, the “at risk.”
I believe that instead we should try to spread that prosperity to the less fortunate. I am proud that our city and our schools devote resources to the “at risk,” I think both should do more.
And Alder Phan-Remmele, without our attention the “at risk” aren’t going to disappear, they will continue to struggle in cycles of poverty and become more desperate. Many in Madison, some elsewhere, but in the nation and on the planet we share. With our attention, with the opportunities and support we can afford to provide some will cease to be at risk and will be productive and contributing and the cycle will be broken.
Unfortunately, less directly and for what appear to be better reasons, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has voiced similar thoughts. The Mayor is correct that concentrations of poverty in housing and in schools are not good and that there are real benefits, educational and otherwise in affirmative policies of economic diversity (The Equity Task Force included this in their recommendations, but like many things the Equity Task Force offered, it was never discussed publicly by the Board of Education and has not been enacted).
But once again I say, that Madison is large enough, wealthy enough and diverse enough that we can achieve these benefits without hanging up the “not welcome” sign. I’ll also add that resources like SAGE and Title I money may not follow poor children to the suburbs (as they don’t in some Madison Schools), and that the loss of the services these provide may undercut the gains of increased economic diversity.
I also point again to the ideas of the Schools and the Common Good.
Thomas J. Mertz