Wrong message


I am appalled by the story in the January 17 edition of the Independent about the lack of a sufficient number of calculators in a math class at Willard School (see “Held back”). Funding for necessary equipment might be undertaken by the Missoula Education Foundation.

However, the more important issue is that with all the talk about “graduation matters,” and having a “star” as superintendent because of the fabulous new programs that are being initiated in our school system, and the money that various grants have brought in which will lead to all kinds of educational opportunities, it is unbelievable that basic educational tools are unavailable, and that money to purchase them is also, apparently, unavailable. What nonsense. How deplorable that haggling over whether Willard School is really a school, or only a program, tells me that bureaucracy is running rampant.

How can we possibly expect students to be prepared for jobs in the real world, when basic educational tools are unavailable? No calculators in the math class. Inadequate collection of books in the library. No transportation for students who were privileged to participate in a real world experience to enhance their educational experience. Unbelieveable.

While I don’t think walking did serious harm to the students, having to do so, along with dealing with other deficiencies in their school, doubtless sent a message. And that message wasn’t a positive one. Graduation does matter, but do we want the message to these kids to be: Graduation matters because then I won’t have to put up with getting the short shift? They will have enough of that to put up with when they do graduate. Let’s make their educational experience as positive as possible.

Jean Bowman


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