I was dismayed to learn the Assembly was sponsoring a resolution supporting a new high school at Dimond Park. Neither the Assembly nor the school board have explained how this massive expenditure of public funds will address chronic problems in our educational system. These include:
Lowering absenteeism and truancy;
Reducing the dropout rate for minority students;
Improving high school qualifying exit exam test scores;
Increasing adult mentoring programs at all grade levels;
Stimulating parents to take an active role in their child's education;
Improving service delivery for children with serious learning and behavior problems;
Reducing the ratio of students to teachers in the classroom.
Being trusting people, we would like to believe that voting for an additional high school addresses these and a myriad of other issues confronting our educational system. But even the most avid supporters of the new school cannot argue these chronic problems will be resolved with a new building in the Valley. They know these persistent problems have reserved seats next to students at the new high school. So the question Juneau voters should be asking elected officials is this: Why capture millions in construction dollars if these monies will not fix what's broken? And, on election day, the message Juneau voters should send to the Assembly and school board is: Focus your energy, attention and resources on finding money to put more adults in the classroom.
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