At a loss

November 20, 2012

I am at a loss to describe what the Trinity School Board has done.

The administrative recommendation was to eliminate quite a large number of electives, including French, Advanced Oral Communication, Advanced Public Speaking, Acting, Finance and many home economics classes. Interestingly enough, many of these classes are in high demand. There are over 980 students presently enrolled in the classes that were targeted for elimination. In contrast, Mandarin Chinese, which will now replace French, has an enrollment of 13.

Parents, students, teachers and community members have spoken out in favor of keeping many of these electives, citing research and personal stories that demonstrate the positive impact of elective choice. Teachers and others on the school board have spoken in favor of these electives as they equip students with skills that will have a lifelong impact.

Last Thursday, one school board member scolded a fellow board member, saying that the administrators are paid professionals and their recommendations should be followed (because we pay them $250,000 a year). In fact, the administrator making these recommendations has minimal classroom experience and has no vested interest in the consequences or ramifications of these cuts since residency is not a requirement for a superintendent. Classroom teachers, parents and students have an active working knowledge of what is needed and how important many of these electives are, and their expertise derives from daily experience, not from sterile words on paper. And when they speak up, the board members and the administrators are supposed to listen and consider what is said, not dismiss it out of hand.

That doesn’t mean some cuts aren’t warranted by economics, but numbers also matter. The number of students that have now been cut from French stands at 116, and 440 have been cut from various home economics courses. In their place, we will have restricted and combined courses that offer less in shorter periods of time.

Before this decision, there were 1,073 good reasons – our students – not to do what this administration has done.

This is not how education is supposed to work.

Diane Ecker



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