Yellow,Bright,Typewriter,On,Blue.,Symbol,For,Writing,,Blogging,,New, editor, letter to the editor, typing, writer, print

CSIndy Editorial Board

Your Voice of Reason opinion article of Nov 10, titled “ D11’s board: cause for alarm” had much more Voice than Reason.  

You dissed the “Colorado Springs voters for electing too many people – strident, ignorant and fearful – to school boards across the city.”  Excuse me.  Are your panties in a wad because parents were engaged and responded to the teachers union controlled D11 Board’s decision to close schools, depriving all, but most tragically low income, students access to in person learning?  Are you upset that the parents of over 70% of the students in D11 who are unable to read, write, add, and subtract at grade level (  per data from the Colorado Department of Education ) chose to change leadership?  Parents are angry and want new board members who will actually improve student performance, correcting decades of failure ?

Fortunately three caring, concerned, very qualified, and totally focused patriots stood up in behalf of parents, responding to and honoring THEIR priorities for their own children ( by the way, one is a native American/Latino pastor, another is Armenian with a PhD in education, and the third is a very successful businesswoman ) in the face of unbridled opposition from those, like you, promoting and protecting the status quo.  They deserve our praise, respect, and gratitude, not your hyperbolic abuse.  What happened last week was a rebellion against ignorance, against condemning too many kids to a life without opportunity and hope.  Every child can learn, and it is time to trust and empower their parents to choose what is best for each of their children..

As you said, there is much reason for “alarm” but you failed to identify the reason – it is the incredible, tragic failure of District 11 to educate its students, especially those who are black and brown ( CDE reports that 80% are not proficient ).  In your screed, you failed to mention one word, not one, about student achievement or, more accurately, the lack thereof.  Why are you not holding board members and administrators who oversee, and who are responsible for, such human tragedy accountable for actual outcomes, for the damage they have inflicted on too many children?

You can argue that technically “CRT isn’t taught in classrooms”, but you can not argue that other forms of racism, group identity, divisiveness, blame, guilt, etc are not being taught, often against the wishes of parents who object to resources, time, and focus being taken away from their highest priority – student learning.  Parents of color object to any suggestion that their children can not learn and that academic expectations need to be lowered for them.    At the very same time D11 implemented the ”equity policy” you so admire, scores of D11’s 3rd to 6th graders declined for all students in all subjects.  Per CDE,  2021 scores show that 95% of black students, yes 19 out of 20, can not do math at grade level.  Where is your compassion for them?  Can you appreciate why parents are concerned about district priorities?

Are you and your readers aware that the current Board and Superintendent stated publicly that the District’s students of color cannot succeed because there are not enough teachers of color?  Before playing the race card, how about implementing the well tested, proven practice of matching up the most academically-needy students with the most effective teachers, regardless of their skin color?  Do you know that the D11 Board approved an agreement with the union that has one of the lowest number of student-teacher contact days and the fewest hours of math and language arts instruction of any urban district in the state?  Change is needed and, fortunately, help is on the way.

Your statement that D11 has suffered “a long stretch of difficult, dramatically underfunded decades”, and that it “has seen a renaissance …. since 2018”, rings very hollow.  Facts?  D11 received a $40 million dollar annual budget increase, approved and implemented in 2018, by promising improved results.  Promises made, promises broken.  And the Feds gave it over $100 million more money this past year ( more than $4,000 per student ) when buildings were closed to in school learning.  Is funding really the problem?   According to the district it is, because it just promoted yet another bond proposal, requesting yet more money, this time only $400 million.  According to the new board members, the problem is not the amount of money it receives but rather how it spends what it does receive. 

You describe a “ renaissance since 2018”.  Scores declined since 2018.  Is that the renaissance to which you were referring? To their credit, voters distinguished between happy talk and facts, and connected the dots.  For how much longer do you intend to defend the indefensible? 

You, pejoratively, described incoming board members as “fear driven”.  Yes, they and the parents to whom they have now given voice are afraid of what will happen to our community and country if our schools do not improve.  And how duplicitous and transparent is your attack on the, to use your term, “dark money” that supported them when you choose to not utter one syllable about the union’s “dark money”, which it has “invested” for decades in those who prioritize the interests of adults over those of the children.

Despite our differences, let me applaud and support your call to “show up at school board meetings”, to “hold them accountable”.  Absolutely!  That is what our community did on Nov 2 when it elected new board members who are qualified and committed to accomplishing the mission – teaching kids to read, write, add, subtract, and to think critically.  Please give them a chance.  They will deliver!!

You saved the best for last when you concluded “We need people who will put the children first”.  Amen!! 

Steve Schuck

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Letters to the editor have not been edited nor fact-checked.