Column: If we get on the same team, we can solve KUSD’s woes

Since I retired from teaching, my colleagues tell me it has gone from bad to worse because over-tested, bored students are no longer receiving the discipline necessary to ensure a safe learning environment.

I have volunteered in quite a few classrooms recently and have been shocked by the level of disrespect the students show towards teachers and staff. Very little learning is taking place, especially when students are exposed to multiple teachers. I know the parents of these students would be horrified to see what is happening in class.

Teachers who try to discipline are not being supported by their building principals.

Building principals are not being supported by the district administrators. Apparently, high numbers of disciplinary actions by a school reflects poorly on the school rating system for the state.

Change in the school system can only come from teachers who can use their classrooms as experimental labs to discover and develop new techniques and curriculum for today’s children. Unfortunately, this kind of freedom is not encouraged in this district.

Teachers are mandated to follow Beyond Textbooks, which dictates daily lesson plans, assignments, assessments, down to what needs to be written on the board.

Many parts of the teaching process are scripted and micro-managed by administrators and data experts.

Now, in addition to these ridiculous teacher expectations, discipline policies are being ignored. Dealing with disruptive students has become part of the daily norm. My question isn’t why we have a teacher shortage, but why teachers would choose to teach here in the first place.

What can be done? We need to elect school board members who proactively visit classrooms, talk to teachers and parents.

We need board members who want change, not the status quo.

We need to save the district $70,000 by discontinuing Beyond Textbooks.

We need to allow the many gifted educators that have stuck around to develop curriculum per the new standards.

The administration needs to give building principals more autonomy and allow discipline statistics to increase temporarily to stabilize the learning environment.

Principals need to support teachers in the classroom by enforcing discipline policies and promoting creative solutions.

In other words, let’s get board members, administrators, teachers and parents who want to be change agents, quit the authoritative, top-down governing and turn this school district around.

Dorothy Buckelew

On Education