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Editorial: Children are our most important asset

April 9, 2017 at 4 a.m.

We are disappointed by the recent response from some Marshall ISD community members regarding actions taken by district administration and trustees to improve some of its failing campuses.

At other districts, when a campus is under-performing, parents and community members demand the district act in any way necessary to get back on track.

At MISD, which had six of its 10 campuses fail to meet state standards this school year and some of those campuses for multiple years, a small but very loud group of community members and MISD staff have instead joined to demand the district NOT make changes to fix the failing schools - despite the Texas Education Agency telling MISD they must take "bold" action to fix the campuses or face a state takeover or a campus shut down.

Now is a good time to remember, our schools are designed to educate our children, preparing them for life. Right now, that is not happening.

Fact: The majority of MISD campuses (also read students) are not learning at a comparable level to other students in East Texas or across the state.

Fact: In order to keep the TEA from coming in and either taking over the failing campuses or shutting them down, drastic changes must happen.

Fact: Two of the district's failing campuses were recently found by the TEA to NOT be following their targeted improvement plans required of them to improve their students' learning.

Fact: MISD is NOT the only district in the area with a high population of low socioeconomic classified students but it is the only district with several multiple year failing campuses. (Think nearby Longview ISD, which consistently outperforms MISD despite having a higher population of low socioeconomic students).

It seems this out-spoken group would rather their friends and family members keep their same MISD positions at these failing schools and just hope the students' scores and learning improves... by magic.

The time for wanting our friends and family members to keep their jobs because we like them is over.

Schools are in the business of teaching students and this should be their primary goal. Student learning should be placed head and shoulders above our personal feelings regarding staff members.

This isn't to say that all of MISD's problems are because of its staff. Far from it. The state government owns some fault through its continued budget cutting of the public education fund as well as the ever revolving-door of new standardized test requirements, many seemingly made without consulting Texas educators.

But when you get right down to it, what has been happening at MISD is not working and change is needed.

That may mean some people lose their positions. That may mean hiring people from outside the district.

We don't care if a new principal comes from the Amazon rain forest. If that new Amazonian principal is what is best for MISD students, we should all welcome them with open arms. Teachers and staff will be moved around to help improve students' learning.

It is time to put our feelings behind us and put our support behind the administration and trustees at MISD. They are doing the best things they know how to save the district and more importantly, help our students.



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