Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Public schools already facing stiff tests

| August 6, 2021 1:00 AM

Thanks to a resurgence of COVID-19 in the community, the 2021-22 public school year might not look as normal as everyone wishes it would.

Listening to Gov. Brad Little on Tuesday, the ghosts of mandated masks and remote learning could be let loose if as a state we don’t do better with vaccines.

The timing could hardly be worse. Not only are people tired of all things pandemic, but tensions based more on politics than health science are near the breaking point.

And public schools are on the front lines of impending battle.

Hours after Gov. Little’s press conference, the Coeur d’Alene School Board met. While masks weren’t on the agenda, a significant sized crowd showed up — most of them angry and threatening, based on those who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Cool heads can prevail. One recent transplant expressed in a letter to the editor Wednesday how shocked he was while attending the school board’s July 12 meeting. He observed a chasm between the school board and outspoken patrons at that meeting and urged all to “come together and shape our children’s public education as a community.”

We’ve got a ways to go to make that happen. Allegations of critical race theory being taught still ring out despite administrators’ assertions that it’s not part of the curriculum anywhere in the district. CRT innuendo sails on a strong tailwind from Boise, where Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin and Rep. Priscilla Giddings are carrying out their public school indoctrination inquisition.

We live in a time of flourishing conspiracy theories hatched in politically motivated incubators, disseminated by social media and consumed by people hungry to have their viewpoints applauded, not challenged. That is a poor recipe for coming together and shaping our children’s public education as a community.

Fall classes begin in a month. School board elections are less than 12 weeks away. It’s not too early to consider what each of us can do to ensure the best educational experience for our students, and it’s not too late to figure out how we can come together rather than rip each other apart.