Amidst the usual ebb and flow of stories and articles in traditional publications and new media, two in particular struck me on Thursday as being ironically well-timed given the continuing debate over the proposed new high school in western Durham County.
The organizers of the opposition to the project are holding two tours of the proposed site next week for County leaders and members of the media. And here it just so happens that two different perspectives -- one national and one local, one eco-oriented and the other enmeshed in Durham's dark history of racial prejudice -- seem well-timed to inform the discussion.
The first piece: a blog post from the Natural Resources Defense Council's Kaid Benfield, the director of the NRDC's DC-based smart growth program, who got tipped off by a Durhamite to the proposed 50-acre Duke Forest site for a new high school in the Bull City.
Benfield's conclusion, after a back-and-forth with his correspondent? Nothing more than what many have been saying in the public discourse and the comments, since this whole discussion began: why, precisely, does it take a space one-half the size of the Magic Kingdom to build a high school for less than 2,000 students?
Are you kidding me? If those are your criteria, you're going to build a large campus of parking lots and one-story buildings in an outlying location. Those of us who care can't simply accept the authorities' current criteria: we have to muster the facts, examples, advocacy and, ultimately, public will to do things differently, and maybe even to conceive education differently, with being placed inside a community valued for the kids as well as for traffic and the environment.