Letter to the editor: School board should focus on basic academic skills | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: School board should focus on basic academic skills

Kathrine Jansen

Serving on the Summit School District Board of Education is a commitment of time and energy. I thank those who serve our community in this way and those who are running for a board seat this fall.

Summit Daily News reporter Lindsey Toomer wrote Sept. 7 that “Summit School District’s test scores dropped during the pandemic, but even before the shutdown, data shows the district frequently falls below statewide averages, particularly in math.”

Another data source shows that over the past five years, math and reading scores have been on the decline. This decline is deeply concerning and a disservice to our children.

The primary job of our public schools is to teach children foundational academic skills, like math, reading and writing. Mastery of academic skills is a key factor in a child’s future opportunities. If academic test scores are declining, why has the current board spent so much time discussing things other than academic performance? What challenging questions on academic performance were asked of superintendent candidates? What percentage of each board meeting is focused on academic performance? If you read board meeting minutes, you will find disappointing answers to these questions.

It may be easy to get distracted in this time of COVID-19 and cultural turmoil. But it is the board’s job to ensure that the focus is on academic excellence. I have serious reservations about the incumbents’ tenacity to focus on academic excellence given their yearslong delay in starting a unified improvement plan.

The current board has had time to address the academic decline and has not been successful. It is time to elect new board members who will focus on job No. 1: basic academic skills.

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