Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"
By Lisa Sloan
The School Board race could not be more important to voters this year. Incumbents for years had the opportunity to work on improving literacy and math proficiency rates in our schools. But what have they done? Why did only Franklin Elementary School have the opportunity to magically transform student scores? Why were other schools left out?
At Franklin, by implementing low cost measures, such as encouraging parent engagement, Principal Casie Killgore achieved an improvement of over 33% proficiency in student scores. Did the current board prioritize implementing such changes on other failing schools in the District? No, they did not. Did incumbents consider mitigating literacy and math failures? No, they did not. The current achievement scores of 50% are pathetic.
Now, incumbents distract away from the primary mandate of public schools which is to teach children how to read, write, calculate and think critically. Incumbents choose to focus, not on our students, but rather on pet projects, such as green energy. Please tell me, how does installing solar panels educate students? The School Board should learn about solar panels. Solar panels have a limited lifespan, and their disposal is very expensive. Do incumbents realize that once removed, discarded solar panels are classified as hazardous waste?
During the Zoom Forum on September 17th, the candidates were given opportunity to discuss how they would improve the learning environment for students. The incumbents focused on problems imposed by Covid 19, the resulting school shut-downs, and feedback from teachers who prefer to teach remotely. That's short-term thinking. Our children will be back into the school buildings when it is safe. And the incumbents have missed the mark on improving learning.
In answer to the same question, challenger Elrawd MacLearn stated that he would engage the parents. Many parents feel that their children need to return to in-person learning. Mental Health experts suggest so. Those who prefer can be given the option to "opt-out" of in-class learning and simply continue Zoom classes at home.
The key difference between incumbents and two of the challengers Elrawd MacLearn and Brian Campbell, is the desire to involve parents in their children's education. Transparency and communication are the best way for students to succeed. When students succeed, society benefits. The future of Santa Barbara depends upon the education of our children.
Currently, on the assignment to educate our students, incumbents have earned a big, fat 'F'. It's well past time for a change on the School Board. On November 3rd, vote the incumbents out!
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