A profile of frustration: School critic is off base

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Reading Ron Deady’s June 9 letter to the editor in the Coeur d’Alene Press left me completely baffled and bewildered.

I had the privilege of participating in a “Profile of a Graduate” workshop hosted by the Coeur d’Alene school district Mr. Deady referenced. The community event was an engaging and informative look into our district and its students.

Mr. Deady’s comments regarding “footage of cute kids and their thoughts” is insulting to the students that participated in the video. The youths in the film expressed their future goals and concerns. Mr. Deady shamed the honesty and integrity of these kids.

In addition, Mr. Deady brought up in his letter several points referring to how the workshops were conducted. He criticized the process in which individual groups wrote on a blackboard ideas they brainstormed. Would he have preferred mental telepathy? Genuine results are only accomplished by dialogue and the sharing of ideas.

Mr. Deady also mentions that no district board members were present at the workshop. Two board members were present at the workshop I attended. Serving on our school board is a full-time, unpaid, volunteer position. It is unrealistic to expect our board members to be present at every educational event in our community.

I would also like to address Mr. Deady’s statement that “no amount of endless levies and bonds will improve our public schools.” If Mr. Deady is upset with the levy and bond calendar in our district, I suggest he voice his concerns to our Idaho Legislature. We have no choice but to run a levy in our district every two years due to abysmal funding from the state. The levy accounts for nearly a quarter of our district funding. I’m incredibly grateful to our voters that they value our public schools and approve our levies. Furthermore, if Mr. Deady were to visit any of our public schools, he would witness seriously overcrowded classrooms. Bonds are essential to adding infrastructure to a district that is growing by leaps and bounds.

In his letter, Mr. Deady disrespected and misrepresented the leadership of our superintendent, Dr. Cook. Mr. Deady states “only real leadership can improve our public schools.” I’m curious how Mr. Deady defines leadership. I define a leader as someone who tirelessly travels throughout our district, respectfully listening to teachers, parents, staff and community members.

Mr. Deady references the audit conducted in our district. Were the results entirely positive? No. District administrators freely acknowledged that. They took positive and proactive steps and asked for community feedback. I’m confused. Mr. Deady is unhappy that our district asked for critique and feedback from a third party, looking for ways to improve. And then when our district engages with the community for feedback, Mr. Deady is even more dissatisfied. Apparently our district is darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

If Mr. Deady would like his views to be listened to, I encourage him to speak respectfully, not insult children or our district personnel and have factual knowledge of public education in our district.

•••

Nancy S. Hart is a Hayden resident.

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