On Aug. 1 we ran a story detailing the failing math and English grades at Marysville High School. We don’t think you need to do a study to figure out why the test scores are low. Just ask the students.
We did and some of them told us they feel left out of the true high school experience because they are pushed to communicate with a computer not a teacher. When we talked to them about teachers, they told us it’s a pretty disheartening subject because they don’t develop meaningful relationships with teachers like they did in earlier grades so they could work through their problems. They said the better teachers are promoted to the STEM school that has been labeled Supt. Diane Mankins’ “pet project.”
Another way to say it is, under the current system the MHS students would never have the chance to learn from a Thelma Carey (math) or Pat Biehl (writing). They both were institutions at the high school for 30+ years.
We see this as a correctable error because the relationship with the staff is what can push troubled students beyond the block that is causing them to fail the math and English tests. Additionally, we see the hiring of former STEM School Principal Kathy Mckinnis as a tutor for MHS Principal Tom Cochran as an indication that the educational experiment is reaching a critical point – even starting to fall apart because the failing test scores can’t be explained away anymore.
We first learned about the story a few months ago and the reaction from the Marysville School Board was troubling. Instead of wanting to dig into how the district was going to fix the ongoing problem, some board members rationalized the low test scores by saying that other districts had low scores, too.”
Just like in the decision to change the valedictorian accolade, the district comes off as tone deaf especially at a time when we think listening to the voters is crucial. Local taxpayers have told us they are tired of hearing about what other districts do because they are paying to educate their children here in Marysville.
We mention all of this at a time when the district is coming to voters in November to ask them to approve a permanent (continuing) levy that takes away the voters ability to vote on that levy in the future. We see this move as a mistake. We think there needs to be more oversight, not less.
This is most evident when understanding that Mankins cut 20 percent of the teaching staff in her first year and has since gone through four athletic directors and three principals at the high school.
We would like to see more emphasis applied to re-establishing a good relationship between high school teachers and students so those students who need extra help in math and English can receive it. We think that will help bring Marysville back to being an excellent-rated district.
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