In a letter recently published in the Eagle & Journal, Kenan Gultekin, School Board Trustee Whitney Antrim’s husband, characterized the room full of concerned parents at the August 19 School Board Meeting as merely a group of thirty people, stating that he cannot believe that more people in this town share the concerns expressed. He went on to state, “But they will keep pushing their political agenda on our community if we let them. Public education is under attack, and we must unite to defend it.” What the parents in this community and, indeed, all over the State of California and this nation are pushing is not at all political or politically motivated. Consider the facts that Dr. Robert Grobe presented in a letter in last week’s Eagle & Journal. In math, United States 15-year-olds scored on average lower than the average score of all students globally in 77 educational systems. Here in California 71% of eighth grade students are below proficient level and California ranks 43rd in eighth grade math proficiency with only nine states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia scoring lower. As part of the international, national, and state level failure of our public school students, Coronado High School students have 38% who do not meet the requirement for grade-level proficiency. Do you think that the parents of the 38% of our low performing students plus the 62% of parents of students at or above proficiency care about a political agenda, or do they care intensely about the education of their children? Yes, public education is under attack and has been under the attack of federal and state politicians, powerful teacher unions, and failing support systems such as the State Board of Education, the California County Offices of Education, the California School Boards Association, and the Association of California School Administrators for decades. Public education in the US has failed and yet we are supposed to sit back and hope that Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) knows the pathway to a better education as it implements programs based on Critical Race Theory ideology. What all the concerned parents and citizens are telling the CUSD school board is, as Laura Eastlake aptly put it, “put an end to No Place for Hate and focus on academics not social engineering.”
Let’s find out, who are the 38% of our students not meeting proficiency, who are the students getting the D’s and F’s, who are the students who fell further behind due to the disrupted education of the pandemic, and then let’s focus on the ways that we can specifically help all of them meet academic proficiency in all subjects.