THE EDITOR, Sir:
I share many of the sentiments expressed by guest columnist R. Howard Thompson ('Establish school zones to achieve academic quality') on the need for zoning for school attendance.
I offer some preliminary information that requires the attention of the minister of education and the ministry itself. It reveals the need for urgent and critical review of the present Grade Six Achievement Test placement policies.
Of the 3,500 students that now attend Christiana High School and Holmwood Technical High School, some 1,100 students travel daily from the Mandeville area and another 700 travel to these schools from Clarendon, St Ann, and Trelawny.
At the same time, hundreds of students from Christiana and North East Manchester travel daily to schools in Mandeville, Frankfield, and Albert Town.
When the statistics from Knox College and Spalding High are added, the picture of inexplicable movement of students is further amplified.
The additional transportation costs parents have to face are oftentimes unbearable, leading to absenteeism unless someone can intervene and give a helping hand, which, in itself, is not sustainable.
When, practically, are we going to place our children in schools that are closer to where they live?
Let us resolve to improve the quality of our schools in each community and send our children close to where they live. Our economic circumstances make this more urgent than we think.
I stand ready, even as we are working to develop safe community and school bus transportation systems, to work with the minister of education and make this area a test case for the successful implementation of a model example of zoning.
MP, North East Manchester