*** YOUR DAILY DO'S - 4/6, EVENING EDITION *** Katie Anthony
Once upon a time, in the heart of North Capitol Hill, a couple blocks from Volunteer Park and the old mansions surrounding, there was a school where students' families couldn't pay for food or housing.
Lowell Elementary IS that school. Lowell's story is a microcosm of education inequality.
Surrounded by affluent families, many of whom send their kids to private schools, Lowell Elementary's district includes downtown and the International District, including homeless families at Mary's Place. Lowell is also the “magnet” Seattle school for children with blindness and visual impairments, life-threatening medical conditions, and pre-schoolers with developmental needs.
Here are some stats on the student population of Lowell:
- 15% of students at Lowell are homeless (the largest percentage of any school in Seattle)
- Over 60% are on free/reduced lunch programs (and more students are coming without lunch or money to pay for lunch because immigrant families are afraid to apply to this program.)
- 25% are learning English as a second language
- 75% are students of color.
- Over 20% have disabilities or other special educational needs.
Since all our WA school systems are severely underfunded, PTAs pick up the slack - raising funds to cover everything from arts programs, to librarians, to field trips, to counselors.
But the needs of Lowell students are more extreme, with a larger percentage of homeless and disabled students than most schools. Their PTA needs to cover things that other PTAs don't have to consider - such as physical therapy equipment, library books in a wider array of languages, more counseling for students dealing with trauma. And, every Friday, families pack food bags for the kids who don’t have reliable access to food over the weekend (they provide over 3,500 meals each school year).
Yet the Lowell PTA does this on a tiny budget. The families with kids at Lowell do not have the funds to donate to a big PTA budget. Lowell PTA raises tens of thousands - not the HUNDREDS of thousands that more affluent PTAs raise annually.
So what can we do about this?
While the state legislature spends another session debating fully funding education, we can support Lowell and send their students to nature camp!
Many students at Lowell have never been out in the woods. The PTA needs to raise $5,000 to send all the students to Islandwood - a science and nature camp on Bainbridge Island.
#Give20 (or whatever you can) to Lowell PTA here:
Make a note in your donation that this is from Indivisible Plus Washington helping to send the students to nature camp!
And comment here about your most memorable field trip in school!
Katie Anthony is a writer, one of the administrators of Pantsuit Washington, and heads the Daily Do's team.
Liz Bander - writer
Angela Teater- Writer