I am writing because I am concerned for the students I teach at Mariner High School in the Mukilteo School District. I feel that the recent reductions in staff have had profound impacts on the lives and academic futures of our students.
In a time of school re-invention and demand for higher standards I must watch advanced classes such as AP Statistics be dropped from our curriculum. Is it not the goal of public education to reduce the gap between the haves and have-nots? By offering these advanced classes, were we not raising our standards?
The district’s actions have caused a number of my colleagues to either leave for more supportive districts or leave the teaching profession completely. This is a travesty to our students. As a staff member, this makes me feel unimportant and under-appreciated. Do I have to teach in an affluent neighborhood in order to get the support I need to effectively teach my students? We cannot fail to recognize that the needs of impoverished students are different than those of the wealthy.
Not only does our state constitution call for the education of all students, we have a moral obligation to try to eliminate the inequalities in our society. I have students who have participated in the protests regarding Mariner staff reductions. They have tried to let their voice be heard but they feel that their efforts have fallen on deaf ears. As a government teacher, how do I explain that political activism is reserved for the wealthy and the litigious? Do we want to tell them that their voice does not matter? I think the message is being sent all too clearly. Our students are important and we must start making them a priority.
Mariner High School