The City-West divide; more than anything it has come to define academic politics in the last few years. The perceived dichotomy between the “haves” and “have-nots” of the Iowa City Community school district has created a poisonous atmosphere and a decidedly negative environment for all students living in said area to learn, grow, and come of age in.
Indeed, the perception of City as the inferior of the two schools in the Iowa city area is a gross injustice that is in desperate need of correction, and to be fair to Mr. Bacon and the rest of the City High staff, steps have indeed been taken to address the divide.
And yet, when I look around me, I see a massive gap in many of the areas of achievement for City Students, not just academically, but in many extracurricular areas as well. Pondering the matter further, I came to the conclusion that the reason City lags behind is not because of any lack of talent on the part of the students, but because of a lack of material support from the school’s administration
Now many of the student populace will probably find the assertion that City lags behind west to be ludicrous. After all, haven’t we just trounced them in football for the umpteenth time? And our Girls Basketball teams are doing exceptionally well, are they not? The answer is yes. But it is this kind of mindset, that sporting events take precedence over other activities, that is part of the morass that bogs down City’s attempts to improve itself.
Sure, sporting events are important, but what about the fact that City students score on average a whole point worse on their ACT exams, not to mention the numerous academic electives that are exclusive to West High. Is it really fair to only offer such opportunities to only half of a City’s populace? In addition to this, City is consistantly outperformed by West in numerous non-sport extracurricular activities.
Now, it would be easier to live with this imbalance between the two halves of the school district if it weren’t for the galling tendency for City to unwittingly reinforce its image as the “dumber” of the two schools.
This is where funding allocations come in. Though it is true that sporting programs cater to a large body of students, the extravagance that is showered upon the more “visible” of the schools activities is often appalling. I’m all for having a successful football team, but is it truly necessary to spend thousands of dollars on fireworks for said football team’s homecoming game? Of course not.
But here we are, spending gratuitous portions of our budget not on providing the necessary equipment and support for our sports teams, but on tinsel and wrappers to make our sports teams look nice and feel good about themselves, while programs that are not looked favorably upon by some members of this school’s administration are left to wither, locked in a perpetual state of inferiority compared to the better funded and supported programs on the west side.
So how can we as students act to improve our school’s standing within the town? A good first step may to be just be an advocate for City when in the public sphere. And don’t just be an advocate for some portions of your school, be an advocate for all of it.
That might mean going to a large group speech performance or joining interact. Whatever you do, you can never get too involved. And at the administrative level, giving extracurriculars the material support to back up the rhetoric would do wonders to ensure that City High once again truly becomes “The School that Leads.”