Viewpoint: Missoula school board must represent, answer to parents
In a time where, unfortunately, every aspect of our lives has become political, we need to start looking at a way to remove politics from our schools. When our founders looked at how our republic would remain successful, they knew it fell heavily on the competency of its citizens.
Preserving our republic relies on an educated citizenry. In the 1800’s when the idea was proposed of commonly funded public schools it was based on the idea of molding children into “literate, moral, and productive citizens.”
It is so easy to believe that living in a rural state we can turn a blind eye and think that this politicization is only happening in larger areas. Sadly, this is not the case. Hopefully, most of you have been paying attention to the current happenings of the Missoula County Public School Board.
For over two years the board ignored the comments and concerns of parents as they begged for answers on the masking policy, for example. A board that is primarily elected to serve the needs of parents and students, should not have to be begged by those they represent to answer their simple questions.
Not only do we need to be informed as to what students are being taught but also what they have missed due to the pandemic. With students being abruptly forced into distance learning, it hindered their ability to learn. We as board members need to ensure we are doing everything in our power to help rectify this loss.
As we look at the US education system in a pre-covid 19 study that looked at the math ability, science literacy, and reading skills of US students the US is 38 out of 71 countries. Montana is 32 out of all 50 states. It is hard to address this as an individual school board but as our students are falling behind, the board is not helping our students better their education; instead, they are lowering the standards.
We need to look at the level of education students are receiving based on whether they need extra help or need to be pushed in a way we can help fix that loss of learning that was exemplified by covid-19 but also by national education standards.
The duty of the board is not to tell parents what we are going to do with their kids or even tell teachers how to teach. The board is there, above all else, to listen to the needs of the parents. Only after that takes place does the time come to decide the best policies to enact. Informing voters about ourselves and previous experience does not exemplify how we are going to advocate for the students.
This election is not about me. It is about electing an individual who is going to serve the parents so that their children can receive the highest quality of education and be equipped with the tools needed to be a productive citizen.
Missoula area students and parents are in desperate need of a board that is there to serve their needs, not the other way around. The time to bring back civil discourse is now. We need the ability to have discussions involving varying viewpoints so we may find the best solution for our children. Ballots are out NOW and need to be turned in by May 3. Let your voice be heard and let's bring change to the Missoula County School Board; our children need it.
I kindly ask for your vote for MCPS district B.