Letter: All education is dynamic

Dear Editor,

I have spent over 50 years educating Owego children. I am disappointed that “Concerned parents and citizens of Tioga County” recently placed an ad in the Owego Pennysaver that so clearly contains misinformation. It reveals not only their prejudices, but also their lack of understanding of public education. School districts have to obey the laws and educate children for society as it is, not as it was.

Board of Education (BOE) meetings of the Owego Apalachin Central Schools (OACSD) were not “held in secret.” The BOE is required to adjourn to executive session for one of two reasons: to discuss personnel issues and/or to discuss the accommodations for specific special needs students based on their disabilities. Would you want an issue with you and your job discussed in public for everyone to hear? Or your child’s special needs made public? I highly doubt it. 

“Fully open” BOE meetings would leave the district open to lawsuits for violating basic privacy rights.

As to holding Zoom meetings, the “demand” that masks be at “parental discretion only” clearly indicates that the people making the demand can’t be trusted to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and legal guidelines. The district has to obey the rules.

The next group of demands reveals more ignorance. While parents have the right to choose private education, they do not have the right to dictate what will be taught in public schools. I wonder if anyone paying for the ad actually knows what “Critical Race Theory” is. It certainly isn’t something taught until after high school, if it’s taught at all. And what does the “under any name” refer to? Are we going to have parental police invading the classroom if the word “race” is used for anything except a track meet? 

“Common Core” is another buzz phrase. While I might not like a particular piece of it, having basic skills and concepts taught nationwide to children at approximately the same ages makes sense. We live in a mobile society. Do you really want your children struggling because they missed key concepts after switching schools? And the reality of gender and gender identity issues shouldn’t be taught? How dare you allege that teachers are teaching gender identity practices to anyone? It sounds very much like the cry decades ago that there shouldn’t be sex education in schools because then students would have sex. 

Finally, all education is dynamic. Years ago “diagramming sentences” was taught because the theory was that it made children better writers. It didn’t. Having students write and giving them direct instruction and feedback in writing makes them better writers. Should we still be having them diagramming sentences?

It is the attitudes of the people placing this ad that is intolerable, not the efforts of the teachers and schools in the Owego Apalachin School District. 


Joan Davis

Owego, N.Y. 

2 Comments on "Letter: All education is dynamic"

  1. Excellent letter, thank you for clearly explaining the issues.

  2. You should be fired for speaking to any parents that way!

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