By Karen McGraw, Parent
Published Ed News Colorado
June 4, 2013
My oldest child graduated from a Douglas County School District high school 10 days ago. This has definitely been a time for reflection. When my husband and I moved into Highlands Ranch more than 20 years ago, we did so because of the reputation DCSD schools. We wanted to give our future children the best advantages of a great public education. I doubt we would make the same decision today.
When my daughter started elementary school, our school even had specials for kindies. For kindergarten and grades 1-3, there were only 18 to 22 students per class. They had recess, which many schools are trying to eliminate. This would have been disastrous for my kids, especially my twin boys that started two years later, who needed time to move and socialize with other children, a big part of learning at that age. In elementary school, my children had specials for art, physical education, library, technology, music and keyboarding. In fifth and sixth grade, they also had the option of taking band, with the only cost being instrument rental. There were fundraisers in elementary school to equip two computer labs and purchase new playground equipment.
How different things are today. Over the past few years, the activity buses have ceased to run for the middle and high schools and parents pay for busing. Fundraisers for schools now are for the basics — for supplies and funding teachers — not for computers and extras. The DCSD fund balance is growing and funding to schools have been reduced. Teachers are no longer valued and respected, but a commodity that can be replaced at a lower cost. Our high school students are being short-changed with reduced instruction time as a result of the “6 of 8″ schedule, which the district touts as being successful . The district makes these claims based on talking to high school students, not to teachers or parents. My three high school students love it because they have more off periods to socialize.
My heart breaks for the teachers of DCSD and the way they are being treated today. I feel for new parents with kids going into the schools that will not have the benefits that my kids had in their early years, which set the foundation for where they are today.
Kids are not widgets; they are people with very different motivations and learning styles. Teachers are not assembly line workers that make widgets; they educate children, all with their varying learning styles and needs. Parents and teachers should work collaboratively for the best possible outcomes for our children.
I am so disappointed in the current Board of Education and administration. I, as many other parents and taxpayers, am looking forward to the November election and the opportunity to vote in board members that value students, that value teachers, that values parents, that value public education and want to make DCSD that place that parents and teachers want to be!