Blame for failing schools in District 6 lies on leadership, not students

An opinion in support of students by Craig Masters

After reviewing performances of the schools and the December District 6 school board meeting, I submitted an op-ed calling for the board to immediately fire Superintendent Lang and set the priority of the district away from its course of the past several years under the disgraceful leadership of Lang and toward a district which places student education above administration retreats.

The failing schools are not the students’ fault. I said it in December and I’ll say it again: there is no way it is possible for this many students and this many teachers and this many schools all in the same district to be this defective – it has to be the leadership.

There is no excuse for this district to be failing to educate the students for this many years. This district has had years and years of state ratings bouncing along on the threshold of being taken over by state-appointed administrators. The only real positive performance Superintendent Lang has been able to accomplish is to juggle the records and convince the state regulators that her next new plan will do even better. Meanwhile the students are getting shafted. I especially like the smoke and mirrors trick Lang and her board of puppets put over on parents and students by lowering graduation standards in order to show an increase in graduation rate. Why even bother to grade at all; just give every student a diploma and have the best graduation rate in the country.

Again, I call for the parents of students in Greeley schools to force the removal of the superintendent Lang. Now I add to that call. Parents should demand the resignation of every school board member that voted to support that inexcusably wasteful $137,00 contract to SlaterPaull Architects to conduct a master facility plan. The plan was intended to recommend expenditures for improvements to area schools.

On the other hand, congratulations to SlaterPaull for their in-depth analysis in which they were able to recommend the two schools in the district in most need of upgrades are John Evans Middle School and Greeley West High School. I suspect it took maybe ten minutes – depending on how fast their internet connection is – to complete that study.

Schools like John Evans and Greeley West get failing grades because the students are not learning; not because the “campus” isn’t pretty enough. Of course I wouldn’t expect an architect to suggest anything short of a new building to improve student grades. And as expected, SlaterPaull suggested a whopper of a building at a cost to taxpayers of millions of dollars.

The sad truth is that teachers know the building isn’t why students don’t learn.  They know that students fail when teachers are uninspired, unmotivated, and discouraged by their leaders… it always comes back to the leadership!

The disgraceful performance of superintendent Lang isn’t limited to her inability to lead and inspire educators. The fact she awarded that ridiculous and wasteful contract to a firm with a critical conflict of interest financially in the state grant process is a perfect example of either malfeasance or total ineptness. Unfortunately, there is a  third choice.  Considering the number of unnecessary administrators Lang has surrounded herself with, maybe that third choice isn’t so far fetched an idea. Perhaps someone can investigate that possibly.

SlaterPaull should have stepped aside in the first place. After all it is not believable they didn’t know they had an employee on the BEST grant board. In any case, I do suggest SlaterPaull immediately return the $137,000. This would remove any question of an inappropriate relationship between Lang and the SlaterPaull firm.

As for the remaining members of the school board: prove to the students you are honorable. Fire the superintendent or resign so someone who puts students needs above administrators’ can step up to begin the task of improving this district’s performance.

If the board or the parents can’t or won’t help the students in district 6, maybe the students need to get involved themselves. After all, it is their quality of life being frittered away on wasteful contracts to report on the obvious and expensive retreats for administrators to learn more about political correctness.

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2 Responses to Blame for failing schools in District 6 lies on leadership, not students

  1. namesrgone says:

    I disagree with the headline. It IS lack of student accountability which is partly to blame for low graduation rates. To make any change, District 6 needs to hold parents and students responsible. District 6 should start motivating students at a very young age on the importance of graduating high school. This will help when they get into junior high and high school to see the importance of high school. Those lessons of responsibility to themselves and others and a strong commitment to achievement learned at a very young age will be engrained in them enough to help keep them in school. Parents will be trained from when their children are in grade school on the importance of receiving a high school diploma. Failure should not be an option.

    Of course, there will always be that segment of society that just doesn’t give a rip about their kids enough that they participate in their education. These parents need to be drawn in. They need to be encouraged to participate, made to feel welcome and recognized for their good deeds being involved. Even if it is over a small thing. Parents need to be made to feel good, be congratulated for any help they bring and made to feel valued and proud so that they will be more willing to help in the future. It needs to be known to parents that school is a partnership. Charter schools are extremely successful due to the level of parental involvement.

    Then we have the migrant population. I would say that we’ve thrown as much money as we possibly can at the problem. It has even been to the detriment of other students. There are so many programs available to migrant families and undocumented persons. What more can we do? To work with these kids, they must be inspired. We need to focus on inspiring them. All the academic tools are in place for these students. We need to focus on motivating them to take advantage to what is being offered.

    District 6 is not solely to blame for student’s failures. More money will not help the issue. MANY students and their families need to shoulder the responsibilty fo their children’s education. And I hate to say it, but it needs to be said. Parents that are not active in their children’s education need to step up to the plate, be involved and show some care in a reasonable and rational manner. They should be ashamed not to. It is not a them against us situation. It is a partnership in

    We should not give more students a ‘get out of jail’ free card by saying that their failure is due to the failings of the district. There is the support of the community. Everything is in place for students to succeed. At some point in time, students and their families need to be held accountable. Someone in the community needs to be bold enough to point this out. A new culture needs to be adopted that parents play more of a vital role in their kid’s education. Lack of the parent and student care results in failure.

  2. bob jackson says:

    i agree with namesrgone. good post.

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