By Murray Siegel
Each school-day morning, a bevy of yellow school buses head north on State Route 347.
These are not Maricopa district (MUSD) buses taking students on field trips or to competitions. These buses are taking more than 1,000 Maricopa children to schools in Phoenix and Tempe. Each child represents a loss of $4,199 per year from the state, and since these students live in homes where education is important, it is reasonable to assume their attendance at MUSD schools would raise test scores.
The time devoted to travel could be used for more productive activities than sitting on a school bus. Given the distance from school to home, are these students restricted in the after-school activities in which they can participate? Why would parents subject their children to these limitations? When asked, parents mention special programs available at the Kyrene and Tempe schools, programs funded by the many overrides passed by voters in these districts, unlike most of the recent override attempts in Maricopa.
I personally have observed at a number of MUSD schools and have seen exceptional classroom teachers. The award-winning middle school blended-learning program and the investigation of rocketry at Butterfield Elementary School have been highlighted. Did folks take notice of the improvements occurring in our schools? InMaricopa, online and in print, has covered recognition received by MUSD schools and personnel. Do the citizens of our city (including the parents of the bused students) read these articles and see all the significant accomplishments of MUSD schools?
I would ask you, the reader, to take one of two actions. If you are a parent whose child rides the bus to Kyrene or Tempe, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and answer two questions: Why do you send your child on the bus to Kyrene or Tempe? Also, what should MUSD do to allow you to consider having your child attend school here?
If you are a parent of an MUSD child or are a volunteer in an MUSD school, write and tell me what you have observed that makes you believe there are some excellent personnel in MUSD schools and that MUSD students are receiving an exceptional education. The results will appear in a future column.
Murray Siegel, Ph.D., has 44 years of experience teaching mathematics. He is in his fourth year as a volunteer at Butterfield E.S.
This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.