By Murray Siegel
The December education column discussed students who should attend Maricopa Unified School District schools but ride to schools in Kyrene and Tempe.
Parents of these students were asked why they send their children out of town. What follows is a digest of some of those replies.
One parent raised concerns about her special-needs son, who received grades of D and F in Maricopa but who has gotten A’s and B’s in Tempe. She writes, “You want these children and their funding back, prove to us (parents) that we can trust you to not only properly educate our children but to keep them safe, comfortable and really CARE what happens with them.”
Another parent is concerned about the teaching of math and writes, “I have friends who go to the schools in Maricopa and they are falling behind in math. Maybe hiring teachers with higher pay and see how the Kyrene school district does it. I don’t have the kids take the bus. We drive them every day.”
A third parent has one child in a Kyrene middle school and one in a Tempe high school.
Her top reasons for leaving MUSD are academic programs and available electives. Concerns also include spending significant funds on a new math curriculum while disregarding needed building maintenance.
A parent whose children were bused to high school in Tempe and are now in college was concerned about restrictions on her children’s growth. When they had the chance to go to Tempe, they did, and they say the results validated that decision.
Another parent is sending her daughter to kindergarten in Kyrene because of the Dual Language Academy. She wrote, “I do not enjoy waking up my little girl at 5:30 in the morning, but her father and I feel that this is a sacrifice that she will benefit from.”
MUSD Superintendent Tracey Lopeman was sent all the parental comments with any identifying information deleted before transmission. Excerpts from the superintendent’s reply:
Knowing there was room for improvement, I implemented Superintendent’s Advisory Councils for students, parents and employees to share observations and identify goals to support the needs of students and families. The District also invited parents, students, and community leaders to work with district staff to begin developing a Five-Year Strategic Plan.
This year, MUSD led the state in new National Board Certified Teachers. Often referred to as the “gold standard” of achievement, National Board Certification asks educators to demonstrate standards-based evidence of the dynamic instruction that takes place in their classrooms.
Obviously, the new superintendent is motivated to accelerate improvement in Maricopa schools. Hopefully, her leadership will upgrade MUSD schools so more students will attend school here.
Murray Siegel, Ph.D., has 44 years of experience teaching mathematics. He is in his fourth year as a volunteer at Butterfield Elementary School.
This column appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.