As parents met with Interim Superintendent Vargas, their questions and concerns were very clear when addressing the fleeing of middle class families, cultural diversity in practice and positions, grade reconfiguration, ineffective School Based Planning Teams, district-wide quality schools, improving schools, elimination of AP courses, lack of communication between the district and parents, and class size at the elementary level. Unfortunately, answers and comments from Dr. Vargas were not as transparent.
Dr. Vargas was very clear when outlining the role of parents in the district as “advisory” on SBPT and with the Superintendent’s office, stating that ultimately the decision belongs to the administrator and the superintendent. Once again, the parent voice was denigrated to the position of “on looker” in their children’s education. The same attitude of “we know what’s best, but thanks for your input” still pervades the district.
It is evident the district plans to move ahead with the vision of an individual in which this community had no confidence. Board policy is not education law and can be rescinded. However Board policy becomes the reason why the parent and community voice is not heard.
There is no doubt that a portfolio school plan is worthwhile. There is no doubt that a one-size fits all approach to education is limiting to the educational success of our children. However, creating a contentious school environment, finding make-shift solutions to real problems, and placating vocal parents with charismatic rhetoric will not solve the vast array of problems this district faces now and in the years to come.
Placing a strong emphasis on parent involvement, hiring and sustaining a culturally diverse staff and curriculum, respecting the voices of the school community, effective and relevant communication with parents and the community, and above all, putting educational dollars back into schools to lower class size and provide the courses students need to achieve is what will foster success for the district.
Parents and community members must vote into office those individuals that will recognize our voice in the decision making process. Leadership begins at the top, with parents!
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