“We are a collaborative and cohesive team that inspires all learners in a culture of safety and acceptance.”
These are words that are recited at every school board meeting. However, one can certainly come to conclusions this current board has not held to these standards. I can’t think of any higher priority than the education and learning development of our youth. For our country to achieve sustainability for the next generations, it is imperative that we are inspiring these future teachers, public safety officers, healthcare workers, attorneys and service workers.
When test scores are below state averages, we as parents, teachers and school board members should be treating this as a four-alarm fire. As a board we should be engaging with parents, teachers and other community leaders to determine best learning practices for each individual child.
However, this board does not seem interested in parent feedback. At the board meeting held Sept. 27, 2021, we were presented with heartbreaking stories from parents whose children have been negatively affected by universal masking requirements. Although certainly not unanimous, the majority of those attending were in opposition to this policy. After reviewing test scores nationally, statewide and local, one can reasonably come to the conclusion these universal requirements, as well as remote learning, have had a detrimental effect on the educational and learning aspects of our children.
Thankfully the decision to universally mask was not implemented by the NCSD, instead, a board-directed policy regarding sick absenteeism rate in determining which buildings will mask for a period of 10 days. However, one can certainly ask the question of why?
I fundamentally believe in the right of parents to make decisions about the education of their children. After the meeting Sept. 27, 2021, I am doubtful that the current board has these same positions. The election for school board is Nov. 2 in which eight candidates are vying for four seats. I encourage all to vote!
Mark W. Thayer
Newton Community School District Board Member