Letter to the editor: Passion at N-O-W meetings is misdirected

By DAVE HUBBARD | Brookwood High School class of 1992

Thank you to the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District’s school board, administration, teachers and staff for their incredible dedication and service in educating our future leaders. The articles in the County Line concerning the most recent school board meeting showed that the efforts of so many people that work for our district are being undermined. 

 It is exciting that so many people are taking an interest in the education of our youth! Unfortunately, I believe the passion that was shown at the last school board meeting is being misdirected. Since the Wisconsin DPI sets the curriculum of Wisconsin Public Schools, discussions on Critical Race Theory have no beneficial purpose on the local level except to divide people. In addition, it is disheartening to see the N-O-W administration is saying that this isn’t being taught but yet community members are not believing our school employees. What type of example are we demonstrating to our youth? The main job of a school district is to educate our future leaders and give them the skills necessary to be prepared for employment or higher education after high school. 

One skill that I have found beneficial in the workplace is to be able to take directions and guidance from my superiors and experts. This was taught early on during my education in the Norwalk-Ontario school system. Isn’t it hypocritical to expect our youth to listen to their teachers and administrators, but yet as a school system we are not following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatricians, U.S. Department of Education, Wisconsin DPI, and Monroe County Health Department concerning facemasks? As a taxpayer in the district, I am concerned about the possible legal liability that the district is exposing itself to if a Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton student gets hospitalized with COVID and ends up with large hospital bill? Could a family sue the school district if their child gets COVID for the hospital bills since N-O-W Schools disregarded the guidance of these organizations? 

 It is a very trying and divisive time; I appreciate everyone’s efforts in wanting the best education for our youth. As a community, maybe we should focus our efforts on improving our student’s standardized scores rather than dealing with politically charged and divisive issues. This would be an incredible challenging goal that won’t happen overnight, but maybe we could learn from the efforts of the Oostburg School District, a rural district that is slightly larger than N-O-W, which tackled this issue with a multi-year plan. Their results speak for themselves. In seven years, they went from the bottom quarter of ACT scores in the state of Wisconsin to seventh overall. How they addressed this challenge was featured in an article in the Appleton Post Crescent: “After Wisconsin school’s reforms, ACT scores and AP participation soar” (https://tinyurl.com/hkt9zxec). 

 Rather than criticize, I would much rather be part of the solution. Time and time again, we have demonstrated as a community we are able to overcome our differences and face incredible challenges for the common good. This has been proven multiple times, from numerous flood recoveries in Ontario, to integrating the Hispanic population in our school, to painting and finishing our elementary school, and successfully integrating the only large-scale school detachment in Wisconsin history. Why can’t we work together again! I would much rather read an article in the article in the County Line with the headline, “Passionate Mob of Parents and Community Members Address School Board to Discuss Ways to Improve Standardized Test Scores,” rather than reading the articles that I did last week. 

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