Did you see this recent editorial Payson Schools Facing Tough Competition in the Payson Round-Up? It isn’t often that I agree with Pete Aleshire about much of anything. But he’s right about this statement: "The Payson Unified School District had better get its whatnot together — and quickly. The district’s in danger — but we’re not sure the board understands the peril."
"In peril" is the place school board members put themselves and their school district by consistently deferring to "the academic and administrative experts," rubber stamping virtually every recommendation, without serious question. The board members aren’t stupid. They incorrectly believe that Administration cares about educational excellence.
It’s ironic that the Payson Round-Up has been PUSD’s number one fawning cheerleader, supporting board candidates with no previous experience, the property tax override, and virtually every decision and frivolous expenditure suggested by Administration…until now.
The warning signs have been there for a very long time. All across Arizona, conscientious parents, teachers, and even some administrators, have thrown up their hands and stopped "arguing" with their local school district officials that ignore, denigrate, and intimidate them. After a while, the wonderful, trustworthy, kind teachers are seen for what they are: Front line foot soldiers behind which Administration hides.
Parents, who actually do want their children to receive a quality education, are switching to charter schools, private schools, online schools, and homeschooling.
PUSD isn’t a monopoly. Hopefully, American Leadership Academy doesn’t make the same mistakes made by PUSD, such as hiring an expensive Director of Student Achievement (Brenda Case), and 4 Student Achievement teachers to "teach teachers how to teach" Beyond Textbooks. That was just one board action that resulted in a record loss of excellent teachers.
Teachers being told by Administration to keep unethical practices "quiet" is another. PUSD’s board also snubbed parents and other taxpayers by refusing to provide them with a 60-day review of BT prior to adopting it, even thought BT meets the definition of "textbook" in ARS 15-721.
In the face of legitimate parental concerns about the high stakes testing (AzMERIT) for children as young as 7 years old, Dr. Wyman told parents "It’s against the law for you to opt your children out of testing." He sneered at board member Shirley Dye for suggesting that Common Core might be replaced by Arizona’s own locally developed K-12 standards. Student Achievement Director Brenda Case insisted that PUSD would use Beyond Textbooks, even if new standards were adopted, because BT would simply adapt to whatever standards are in place.
And one more point in his editorial, Pete Aleshire felt obliged to accuse the Legislature of "disgraceful, seemingly willful abandonment of our public schools." Arizona’s news editors don’t want you to know the "rest of the story," if it doesn’t fit their Leftist world view. What are the facts about Arizona’s "low ranking"? Read "Arizona K-12 School Finance Statistics: Why does Arizona Rank #48 in Per Pupil Spending"?