Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Re: 'How to take the schools back' [Village News, Letter, 10/5/23]

This is in response to J. Schembri’s letter entitled, “How to take the schools back.”

Mr. Schembri: I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that; however, you presented several proposals, so I will address those. First of all, if you or anyone wants to know what goes on in the classroom, you can make arrangements to visit. This is standard policy with most schools and certainly our local ones.

You will have to provide information to ensure security along with arranging appropriate and convenient notice for all parties. Do some research before you whine about what you claim is going on. Please enlighten yourself.

Next, throughout my 24 years at Potter Jr. High, parents were always welcome, encouraged, or even required to visit the campus and my classroom. If a student had problems in my class, I always suggested or arranged for the parent to “observe” in my room.

For other situations, parents would spend the day on campus following their student to every class; this is called “shadowing.” Yes, the procedure you described from many years ago, is still an effective and continuing strategy. When was the last time you visited a local school campus or talked to an administrator?

In addition to presenting more “proposals” of what needs to be done, perhaps you should acquaint yourself with current school policies and their origin. In case you don’t know, most are mandated by federal and state legislative bodies. Find out exactly what can and cannot be controlled locally.

In addition, there is no need for you or anyone to “take your schools back from the unions and school boards.” Unions do not set school policy or instructional protocol. Decisions in those areas must follow established, public, legal requirements.

Here is another fact; our local school boards are elected members of the community! Have you ever talked to any to them personally? When is the last time you attended or listened to a meeting? Look at the monthly agendas and minutes and you will discover that every item gives direct reference to specific Ed. Code statutes.

You should also know that private, charter, or voucher-type schools are not required to follow state and federal mandates. They can do whatever they want regarding admissions, income and expenses, standardized tests scores, special ed. policies, fees, transportation, etc. They are not required to report anything.

Realize, too, that only public schools must provide detailed data on test scores, number and types of disciplinary actions, demographics, financial reports, instructional materials, and to provide fully-credentialed teachers. The list goes on…

It is encouraging that you are interested in what is happening in schools. I certainly hope that you will become more realistically informed about your concerns and possible solutions.

AKA: Do your homework. Perhaps you can volunteer your services, sponsor or become involved in local student activities or clubs, become a mentor, coach or supervise events for students, be a classroom aide, or help with other areas of positive participation.

Sandra Forrest


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