Writer sees crisis of trust in school dilemma
To the editor:
I have read with interest and dismay the articles and letters-to-the-editor about the issues in our school system.
In my opinion, we have a dilemma that is bigger than a bond issue. What is at the core of this turmoil? We have a crisis of trust. I do not think that a “yes” or a “no” vote on the bond issue will resolve this crisis. This dysfunction will continue long after the bond issue outcome unless it is seriously addressed. The school board, teachers, staff and concerned citizens are all convinced that their point of view is right. Those who speak up and out do so with courage and conviction that they speak the truth. Each speaks from his own experience and context but perhaps without understanding the context of the other.
How do we resolve this dilemma? We need good listeners. We need people who care about another’s position and want to understand it. We need people who are not defensive but who reach out for reconciliation.
What makes a good teaching and learning environment? I would answer that excellent facilities; students who are encouraged, challenged and supported; and teachers who are appreciated and empowered are all significant. If any leg of this three-legged stool is missing, there is an imbalance, and the result is less than desirable.
If we want the best school system possible, the lack of trust needs to be addressed in a focused and dedicated way. Who is without trust? Why? What changes need to be made to regain trust? Who has leadership authority to work toward trust? I think responsibility lies with our elected school board members to make the first move toward trust for the health of our community.