The Power in Numbers

“Welcome to a student author, who paints a vivid picture, indeed!”

8:00 A.M…A time of day that previously had brought smiles and laughter to the faces of the students at Katahdin High School.  In past years, the halls at KHS have been teeming with smiles, laughter, and happiness shared between nearly all of the students, and the staff that had became almost like a second family to many students.  Katahdin High School has always carried a great reputation for the positive atmosphere brought forth by the work of the faculty, administration, and the students in collaboration.  That is until now. Currently, those smiles are far and few between.  The bell indicating that it is time for Block 1 classes to begin brings forth sighs from many of the students. To many, school is not a happy place anymore. Seeing my fellow peers expressing hate towards school pains me.  No student should be led to “hate” their school. However, morale is  extremely low, and I personally don’t see it going anywhere but down in the next few months. What exactly has caused this immense change in our school’s atmosphere? Let’s take a look.

These are  issues that are coming from a student of which I feel, and those of which my peers have expressed. The number one issue that the student body feels is that the Board and administration is more concerned about technology than the quality of our education. Let’s face it, I have heard of only one student who likes their iPad. This young lady was completely outnumbered by a high percentage of students who feel as though, “Teachers and administration should have to type a 1500 word research paper on a touch keyboard.” Technology is a wonderful thing. However, spending precious money on technology advancements when we are lacking basic tools for our math programs, and many fillers in our program of studies is devastating to a student.  You aren’t going to improve your math, English, and Reading scores directly by handing a student an iPad. I do see good intentions with this development, but iPads were just a poor choice of investment.

What happened to that “second family” that the faculty resembled? On the first student day, more than half of the teachers and staff members were strangers. With talks of consolidation striking at the end of last year, job security and morale took a plunge. As a student, we are adjusting to the new staff members. We do worry over the fact that more are already planning on moving or looking at new jobs for the next year. This staff change is becoming “the norm” for the beginning of the school year. Adjusting to brand new teachers each year is a difficult task. This is a prime example of why as students, teachers, parents, and community members, we need to fight to secure the future of our schools. The RSU isn’t going to cut it.

While there are many other reasons for which these changes are harsh, there are too many to list. The students of our school district have quite frankly lost all faith in the school board, superintendent, and administration. Their promises haven’t been kept, and they have done just the opposite of what they said they would do…fix the current recurring problems.  Instead, they have only created more. The superintendent has even gone far enough as to lie in front of students. Our “trusted elders” are not acting like professionals. This school district needs change, and the only way that it will happen is if the students, community, and faculty gather together and fight for the education that the students deserve.  Simply by voicing your opinion at a board meeting, you can help to fight against these issues.  As a whole, we can and WILL win. Get the word out! It may take time, but the outcome will be well worth it.

If you haven’t already voiced your opinion, please take the time to do this quick survey… http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/J86Dl6J

Thank you

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10 responses to “The Power in Numbers

  1. Well said!!

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  2. The decline in my children’s education is very frustrating. The trend towards too much technology at the expense of focusing on good math skills, English, critical thinking is Just dumbing down education further. The expectations are low for students and they are not challenging them. Administration puts in foolish policies and is inconsistent in discipline. It seems to me there is too much bureaucracy and no enough focus on what is important, inspiring our children to be lifelong learners and have a drive to succeed in the future.

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    • Many of us are of the same mind — few, though, can articulate the issues as well. Parents can make a difference.

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    • The Superintendent has posed the question, “What is the best plausible education for students..” …the assumption being that the best is more expensive. It isn’t. Focus on faculty, rather than technology and administration/management/supervisors etc. is not only better for kids but more fiscally responsible.

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  3. It is a sad time for many in our school and the writer is quite correct. Way too much time is spent in a school block to get students on board. Many won’t admit they can’t get where they are going. The Superintendent is indeed not truthfully “for the education of the student.” He has proven that. Administration does not stand strong on its decisions. Discipline is weak, very weak. More time is spent on educating students on Ipads than on great English, Math, Science, History etc. On the other side of the coin. There are many students who waste good working time wandering, creating drama, being oppositional and not raising up their own head to become what they really want from their school. All need to get better. Thank you.

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  4. My hats to the writer..well said and truthful. We are dumbing down our kids and we better wake up and see this and address the problem before it is too late.

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  5. I’m not sure where things will end up for the Katahdin schools. There are so many more things wrong than there are right. The biggest problem starts with administration. You have a superintendent that can’t carry his weight. He’s getting paid over $100,000 per year and cannot function in the capacity that it expected of him. He has to have a business manager and a facilities manager to help do his work. The purpose of consolidation is to save money, but they’re actually spending more–since they’ve had to create these other 2 positions to help him do his job. Most of the people on the school board are too intimidated to speak up. I do have to say there are a couple school board members who do form and voice their own opinions—kudos to them. We need more like them representing our communities!! This whole iPad thing is absurd!!!!!!! All students from kindergarten through grade 12 have iPads. There is only one wireless keyboard for every 7 iPads. They can’t take the iPads home—they’re too fragile—they might damage them; that means they cannot do homework at home—-unless they have access to Google Drive from their home computer. When they need to type an essay, if they don’t have access to a wireless keyboard, they will need to type it on the touchscreen. That’s just crazy. Things need to change or we’re going to lose our schools. We have iPads, but not enough teachers. They’ve got general and college classes combined, so it’s compromising our children’s ability to be “taught to” at the appropriate level. Teachers are being shared by Katahdin and Southern Aroostook. We need a change and only WE can make it happen.

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    • Education remains a VERY human endeavor, and the teacher/student relationship is paramount. When this administration set about gutting faculty…. …priorities on the whole? For all the asinine claims of “….for the kids”, I would be hard-pressed to fathom anything less child-centered.
      There is an article on our FB page about a study exploring the effectiveness of technology — clearly a waste of time and money, and in some cases does more harm than good. In the business world, tech costs are offset by labor cost reductions but that doesn’t hold true in education. Tech is just a tool. Honestly, student who have the greatest difficulty learning are awash in technology! If there was so much “power” in it…. no more so than chalk without good teachers. The lack of respect for the teaching profession as well as for students is appalling. Board elections matter, don’t they?

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