LETTERS: Schools don’t want parents’ input

To the editor:

Barry Goldman’s letter to the editor stated “the first and foremost source of blame for poor student achievement: the parents” (“Terrific parents needed,” March 12 Review-Journal). My first reaction was to pull my hair out. Then I thought, no, I’m just going to cancel my subscription to the Review-Journal.

As a highly involved parent, I attend regular meetings, I speak with my children’s counselor regularly, I communicate with their teachers when necessary, and sometimes even when not necessary, just so they know I’m here. I care so much that, like Mr. Goldman, I wrote a letter in response to the same article with my own perspective of what I feel is an overlooked issue in our schools, locally and nationwide. Let me share with you how concerned and involved parents are treated when we try to be parents in our public school system.

At a community engagement meeting a few months ago, several parents spoke out against Common Core state standards and all the inherent issues with that program. We were told, “Don’t argue with me,” by Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky. When parents attempt to speak their minds or make suggestions at open meetings, we are clocked and cut off, regardless of the significance of our point. Parents are kept at arm’s length when it comes to policy regarding our own children.

I have yet to hear back from any School Board member on any correspondence I’ve sent, and the only response I’ve ever received from Mr. Skorkowsky has been a canned email from an ombudsman. I have many more shameful examples of how parents are treated when we ask for a seat at the table. There are lots of parents who want to be involved with their child’s education and all that entails, but we are marginalized.

From my perspective, Mr. Goldman, the last thing our school boards, superintendents and unions want is parent involvement. I do not discount your concerns, as there are certainly parents, for myriad reasons, who are not as involved with the education and day-to-day activities of their children. However, I can tell you that a good number of those parents are less involved because they are working to put food on the table and clothes on the backs of their children. The days of Ward and June Cleaver are over — we do not live in that perfect world anymore.

Nevada State Board of Education meetings are held at 9 a.m. That makes it difficult for parents to attend. My district trustee holds her monthly meetings at 10:30 a.m. Again, not the most convenient hour for regular working parents. So please don’t discount those of us who are trying.

The issue of education is much too big to address in one letter, but as far as parent involvement goes, you might see more of us if we were invited to the table, rather than having to elbow our way in.



Poor leadership

To the editor:

Our nation is on the edge of getting itself into a major international conflict, this time with Russia. The average American knows little about Ukraine, or even its place on the map, and certainly doesn’t know about Crimea.

President Barack Obama has been accused of leading from behind. It’s more like leading from the behind. This administration has a dismal record in foreign affairs and foreign policy. We have no business whatsoever getting involved in this mess with Russia, simply because we cannot trust our government to defend our best interests anywhere, not even here at home.

President Obama is an ineffective leader and cannot be relied upon to make decisions in our best interests. America is tired of war, but the simple truth is that under this president, we are afraid of war.



Animal abuse

To the editor:

The Review-Journal had an article about the U.S. Department of Agriculture citing magic shows for keeping a snow leopard in a rusty cage and chaining a bobcat in a dangerous way. (“Feds report two Harrah’s shows treating animals poorly,” March 7). The USDA also found that the cages were too small.

While I probably agree that these are problems, is the Department of Agriculture serious? This is the same government, as the Review-Journal reported March 6, (“Activists have yet to target trappers,” John L. Smith column), that allowed 5,138 critters — including nearly 200 domestic dogs and nine golden eagles — to be caught in Nevada in steel-jawed leg-hold traps. These are the kind of traps that crush an animal’s leg and hold the animal in place while it gets ripped apart by another predator or dies of thirst and starvation. Or, if the animal is lucky, the trapper comes around the next day (unlikely) and either steps on its neck or shoots it.

And the USDA is worried about cages being too small? Seriously?