The Miami school district plans to redraw school boundaries. This will have a variety of effects on students since many of them will be forced to transfer to other schools. The parents are opposed to the move towards redrawing the school boundaries due to a number of reasons. Some of the reasons raised by the parents include compromised quality of education, increased travel time, crossing economic and cultural boundaries, property value and social effects on children among others.
This paper seeks to discuss the negotiation between the parents and the board to resolve the dispute. The paper will include negotiation process, technique and skills that the two parties could employ as well as the views that the parties could have over the effects of the students relocating to new schools.
Negotiation is a process by which parties to a conflict engage in discussions with an aim of arriving at a position that both the parties will agree to. Christopher (2010) defines negotiation as a technique to decision making and dispute resolution. When issues arise that tend to change a status quo that involves more than one party, one or more of the involved parties may be offended by the changes.
Negotiation can then be used to seek an agreeable opinion that all the involved parties can consent to. The negotiation process will call for compromise on some or all the parties to the conflict so that a consensus can be reached (Christopher, 2010).
The parents are opposing the move by the school board because of issues that pertains to quality of education, increased travel time, crossing economic and social boundaries, property values and social effects on children. Pecora and Maluccio (2009) argue though not with respect to school but rather to placement in welfare facilities, that mobility has negative effects on the children. The effects in the facilities are however comparative to the effects in schools as both welfare facilities and schools both deals with developing and impacting the children and students.
According to Pecora and Maluccio (2009) the transfer of students from one environment to another has a negative effect on the students’ performance. It is noted that the transfer has the same effect on the performance of the affected schools. The performances of mobile students are however more affected as compared to the performance of immobile students who study in schools that are affected by student mobility.
With respect to these negative effects on student’s performance due to transfers, the parents could be justified to oppose the move by the board on grounds of its negative effect to quality of education. The transfer from one school to another also has social effect on the students.
The move will break the links, friendships and relationships that the student might have formed with other students and teachers at the original institution. The movement will in this respect cause confusion to the students who might take too long to establish new relationships in the new school.
The moment of confusion before the student establishes new relationships is significant as social interactions are very important elements in the development of the child. Isolation caused by the movement can have a negative psychological effect if the child takes too long to establish new relationships. The mobility can also cause behavioral disorders due to isolation in the new school especially if the student does not adjust to the environment (Pecora and Maluccio, 2009).
Financial limitations have also been identified and cultural boundaries as barriers of school mobility. Financial limitations can limit accessibility to education if students are to be transferred at the discretion of the board of the Miami school.
The board can relocate a student to a school that could be far from the student’s home and this will translate to increased transport expenses. It could get worse if the student is from a poor background and hence cannot afford the costs to the new school. Cultural barriers also affect students when they transfer to schools in locations with new cultures.
The transfer will subject the student to a new culture which will require the student to make adjustments. If the student is unable to adjust to the new culture then his or her relationship in the new school as well as the student’s performance might be affected. The mobility to a school located further from home will also mean increased time taken by the student to travel to school as the distance to be covered will be more (Junor and Usher, 2008).
Since the school has made the decision to redraw its boundary and the parents are offended by the decision, there will be need to form a mechanism by which these two parties, the school board and the parents, will find a solution to their difference.
The two parties will therefore be required to meet and share their views on the positions they are taking in order to reach an agreement on the best step to be taken. For effective negotiation to take place, the two parties will need a skilled and procedural approach during their meeting. According to Auaf (n.d), effective negotiation can be achieved when skills are applied in the process of discussion.
Auaf (n.d.) argue that a negotiation should: produce informed consensus if possible, be efficient and positively develop the relationship that the parties experienced before. It is further argued that negotiation should be approached with a “soft stand as positional negotiations” (Auaf, n.d., p. 1) where parties are not willing to compromise often leads to unwise decisions or at times no agreement at all.
This could worsen the conflict. Both parties should during discussion focus on: the interest of both the current students and those expected to join, available options apart from transferring students upon redrawing school boundaries, the possible agreements that could be arrived at, the legality of redrawing the school boundary among others. The negotiation process should be chaired by a person perceived to be impartial in the crisis.
The person could employ the aspects of negotiation which include: “separating the people from the problem, focusing on the interests rather than the parties, generating a number of possible solutions and insisting that the desired results driven by objectives” (Auaf, 1).
Zartman (2008) argues that negotiations uses a formula that is acceptable to all the parties in a conflict and illustrate a consensus upon which a solution is to be implemented. He further adds that the negotiation process should focus on establishing justice. The legality of the cause of the conflict should be established and the solution be driven towards restoring the violated law.
The person chairing the discussions in this particular case should therefore be informed on the issues related to education policies and even the rights of children (Zartman, 2008). It is however important to note that as the parents and the school would agree to meet and negotiate on their differences over the redrawing of boundaries, there are some conditions that if taken consideration can lead to the success of the negotiation.
Christopher (n.d.) argues that for a negotiation to be more successful, the parties who in this case are the parents and the school board should both be willing to discuss the problem in order to reach a consensus. It is also important that the parties involved be dependent on each other as this is the tool that will facilitate compromise. If the parties are independent, then the dominating side will not be willing to compromise as it derives no benefits from the other party.
Other necessary conditions for a more successful negotiation include: willingness by the parties to compromise their positions, unpredictability of the result of the negotiation, existence of pressure on both parties to resolve the conflict and that the possible solution be one that is reasonable and can be easily applied (Christopher, n.d).
The school board made a decision to redraw school boundary. The parents are offended by this move which according to them will affect their children’s welfare at school. The parents’ reasons for objecting the move by the school are reasonable as they reflect the possible negative effects that school mobility can cause to their children.
An interactive discussion is however necessary between the school board and the parents as they are the major stakeholders in the education sector. An independent and well informed person would however be needed to reconcile the parties as they are both right in their views. The negotiation process will therefore be expected to find a solution that will be in line with education policies as well as ensuring that students are given favorable learning conditions.
Auaf. (n.d.). Negotiation Skills. AUAF. Retrieved from: http://www.au.af.mil
Christopher, W. (n.d.). Negotiation. AUAF. Retrieved from: http://www.au.af.mil
Junor, S. & Usher, A. (2008). Student mobility & credit transfer. Education Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.educationalpolicy.org
Pecora, J., Whittaker, J. & Maluccio, A. (2009). The Child Welfare Challenge: Policy, Practice, and Research. New Jersey, NJ: Aldine Transaction.
Zartman, W. (2008). Negotiation and conflict management. New York, NY : Routledge.