Letter: South Whidbey schools need change, not status quo

Editor,

The first priority of our public schools is the responsible and comprehensive education of our children. All else should stand secondary to the success of that mission. Unfortunately, this has, since the 1920s, become a failed endeavor. We have many amazing teachers who care deeply about helping our students to become successful learners, but are compelled to use poor teaching materials and methods that have resulted in the U.S. dropping from a best-educated nation to the global “bottom of the barrel” based on standardized test results.

Our school facilities are among the finest on the planet, money expended per student the highest, and yet our system struggles to achieve the levels of competence of our great grandparents’ norm in knowledge and academic ability.

I spoke with a South Whidbey school board member almost two years ago who was ecstatic about our 8th graders currently achieving at the 66th percentile in math. That’s pathetic as math is an application of logic, as is science, learning to read and most other subjects of study. Why not use correctly structured and easily taught textbooks/methods like Saxon math or Spaulding’s “Writing Road to Reading” which would allow our students to excel? They can’t grow the education industry if they do.

Successful students do not need remediation which requires more teachers, support staff and administration. The teacher’s unions are focused only on expanding their members’ income and benefits while increasing their own size, influence and wealth.

Do you want to continue the status quo of failure in our classrooms? You need school board members who actually care about the success of our children in a globally competitive world and are not beholding to and supported by the unions, PTA and other groups typically controlled or influenced by those unions. Since school board candidates are “categorically” not affiliated with a political party endorsement does not mean they are “nonpartisan.” Explore their ties and support, then determine their value in representing the best interests to our children and communities. Be willing to ask the tough questions and demand honest answers. Save our students and save the U.S.A.

John Carlson

Langley

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