By Britt Sandkulla-Sinclair
I am offended by a booklet that I just received from the Vallejo School District. It was sent home with each of my two children. Every student in the district apparently was sent home with one of the booklets.
I am offended because the district obviously spent a great sum of money for this beautiful 21 page booklet at a time when we can’t afford to pay our teachers a decent salary. I wonder how much this public relation campaign to make the district and the school board look good actually cost.
I am even more offended because this very slick booklet is filled with distortions. It presents a wonderful picture of what we would love to have our district be. The problem is that it is not an accurate picture. What is actually happening in our classrooms is a far cry from the description given.
The picture presented on the beautiful, glossy pages of the booklet would have you believe, for instance, that our high schools are exemplary models. Yet every parent that I know is concerned about the issue of safety for their child when they reach the high school level. Whenever possible, parents are sending their children to private schools or out of district through transfers or falsifying addresses. Many choose to move to another city. I have friends with children who considered moving to Vallejo but decided not to because of the condition in our schools.
The words rigorous and relevant curriculum, restorative justice, full service community school, all sound great but are just words. The condition of our schools is a far cry from the description given in the booklet.
I hold the school board members and superintendent responsible. I urge everyone to vote in three new board members in the upcoming school board election. Enough is enough. New leadership is needed to turn our schools around. Let’s take a positive step forward and elect new leaders.
Everyone that I know is aware of the problems students face, especially as they approach the high school level. My children are still in elementary grades and are in a good learning environment at Penny Cook. However, I am faced with a huge problem as they move into the higher grade levels. The bullying, intimidation and violence on our middle and high school campuses makes them unsafe. Everyone I know who can afford it puts their students in private school. Others apply for transfers to other districts. Many simply use a false address to have their children attend school in another city.
The booklet doesn’t mention that teachers don’t want to work in Vallejo. Not only are the classes filled with disruption but the pay is 10 percent lower than the next lowest district in the north bay area. When school began this year there were nearly 50 classes without a regular teacher. Substitutes were hired, sometimes given 30 day contracts even though they may not have had a credential in the subject that they would be teaching. Some substitutes were not even credentialed teachers at all.
The school board and superintendent need to be replaced with new blood, new leaders with real solutions and the ability to make changes, not just “pull the wool over our eyes” with untruths and propaganda.
Note: All opinions expressed in the “Primal Scream” column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.