“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics”.–Mark Twain
A recent letter by David Reagor made an effort to highlight test scores of our district with little effort put forth to understand or reflect on the plight of the humans who are most impacted by his stance. I was sad to even see such a flippant letter disparaging all of the effort of students and educators, and was reminded of the above quote as it perfectly describes how statistics can be twisted to bolster weak arguments.
Within minutes of the letter posting, educators and parents were voicing frustration at the insensitive and ignorant stance of that letter. From teachers and parents who have spent the last few years working to meet expectations imposed on them with the resources provided. In the letter, there were a lot of cherry-picked statistics that were used to imply our district is failing and on the trend to continue failing our students. The test scores and our district’s performance were already addressed here, and what is especially frustrating about Reagor’s letter is that the “solution” offered is to return to this ambiguous idea of “traditional education”. This offers no solutions, and that would be clear if they had talked to educators. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he means Math, History, Science, Language Arts, etc., but those are still in the classroom, and all the author would need to do is check homework, or be involved in the classroom to know this. Everything that our generation was taught is still in the schools. What is lacking is the support structure our education system had when we were kids. What we need is INFORMED and ADAPTIVE learning. We need to see where we are lacking, how we can improve, and strive to reach that, while not losing any of the gains we have made. I can’t be more clear, where we are NOT lacking is in educator effort.
Instead, by connecting with teachers, students, and parents, I have seen that what can improve our performance on all levels is by providing the resources to the teachers, students, and parents. Right now, one of the best ways to support the schools is to vote yes on The Mill Levy. The Mill Levy has provided resources that helped us get through the pandemic, such as laptops for every student. Why any individual would want to defund education is beyond me. However, other resources are still lacking, such as the personnel to achieve these goals we all want. This is not a curriculum issue as much as it is an issue of the people in power not giving support to the educators and students as much as they should. The aforementioned letter is the perfect example of that.
Reagor’s letter only serves to make teachers out to be the bad guy. Educators and parents are getting burnt out and to imply that they are failing the students is an insult to all of them, who work harder than most of us ever have. Consider the teacher shortages we are facing across the nation, the fact that across the country it has become a common theme that they dig in their own pockets. Teachers are rising to the occasion and helping kids re-adapt to school in the building. As a community let’s rise to the occasion and support them at this critical time of adjustment. For the sake of our own children’s mental health, let’s cut them a break too.
Let me be clear; teachers are working harder than ever to help kids through a pandemic. I don’t know every teacher in the county, but I can empathize with their position. Consider how it feels to be a teacher in America right now. This Time article does well to express how 2018 felt. Now add in a pandemic, but his top concern is about test scores.
Just a few quotes I received from educators and parents immediately following the letter are:
- “I spend about $500 at least of my money on supplies every year. Average teacher nationwide – $1700.”
- “There is great [parental] support for teachers here. Yet here, teachers are struggling to keep up with all the demands.”
- “Teaching right now with a pandemic is no picnic. The last normal year for [7th grader] was grade 4.”
- “Yes schools have room to do better – guess what right now schools need social and emotional support not more pressure on tests.”
- “I’m just so tired of working so hard and caring so much and having ppl belittle what we are doing everyday with these kids. Last year was hard. And we all thought. ‘It’s ok. It’ll be better next year’. This year is harder. Thanks for advocating for us and being a supportive and involved parent.”
Please recognize that although there may be room to grow, we need to recognize that it takes more than just pushing harder, it takes support, which takes understanding.
Vote YES on the Mill Levy, and Vote Jaurigue, Colgan, Green, and Specter for School Board. I want to make things better and I can do that because I am present.
Candidate for District 2
Los Alamos Public Schools Board