Letter: Making Parents Wait

Letter to the Editor

Thought the press might be interested to know that SMMUSD has spent (and continues to spend) months of valuable time on construction of buildings rather than planning for students’ return to classroom (similar to San Francisco school spending all their time on renaming). LA County has finally achieved the necessary numbers to return children to the classroom. The CDC, WHO and American Academy of pediatrics are urging them to do so and the district is completely unprepared. It’s inexcusable. Many teachers want to return to the classroom but are being silenced by the union and told they are not allowed to say so. Instead of return to academic instruction, the school district has chosen to proceed with “distance learning plus” which will only have kids return for two hours per week for enrichment activities such as gardening and no mathematics, writing or other core instruction. And there still isn’t even a solid plan for DL+. The superintendent is leaving it up to the individual principal to make a plan for their school to return rather than providing uniform guidelines. As such, each school is in a different place and it is a completely ridiculous and an equitable situation. Many principals are dragging their feet and don’t want to return. 

At the school district board meetings, parents wait for hours to give comments begging for their kids to return to the classroom. At each meeting, hundreds of parents attend and wait to voice their concerns for the well-being of their children and explain that this matter should be prioritized, yet we are forced to wait until the end of every meeting to speak and the matter is never prioritized. They make parents wait, hoping they will give up and leave (and some do—last night the meeting was six hours long and the last parent gave her comment at 11:56 p.m.). We asked for return to full school (not distance-learning plus) to be put to vote last night; they refused. We asked last night for them to put it on the agenda as a voting item for March 4 and, as of now, there is no confirmation this is going to be the case. 

As citizens and taxpayers, our children are entitled to education in the classroom. The district, the superintendent and many of the school principals are failing our students. 

Jennifer Valladares