Danville schools deserve better from leadership

Published 7:19 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

I am a proud parent of a Danville schools student, a former teacher and principal at Danville High School, and a taxpayer. I am disappointed by the recent comments of school board chairman, Steve Becker.

In reference to our schools’ recent state accountability performance, the Advocate-Messenger quoted Mr. Becker saying, “The site-based councils-if you look at your roles, you guys are in charge of improvement, not the school board.” I find it disturbing that our board chairman would resort to the blame game, and attempt to excuse our local board of education from responsibility when it comes to school accountability and improvement.

Mr. Becker went on to say, “We try to make sure that everything is on an even keel. But it comes down to the site-based councils.” Unfortunately, “everything is on an even keel.” Our district continues to lag behind regional districts and our state. Sadly, improvement may not be on the horizon considering our elected leaders and chairman do not understand the role of school boards.

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Mr. Becker, school boards do more than ensure “everything is on an even keel.” School boards hire the gatekeeper of our schools’ vision and mission, the superintendent. Furthermore, the school board adopts policies and provides resources to ensure high student achievement. The focus of our board should reflect commitment to improving student achievement in all facets. These responsibilities are much more than an “even keel” and blame strategy for continuous growth.

Mr. Becker went on to attack our teachers. Mr. Becker said, “if the teaching that you’re talking about was so innovative, then why were the scores where they are?” Mr. Becker, our teachers are under constant attack from our elected state officials, therefore please refrain from bringing such negative comments to the local level. We are blessed to have some of the most talented, compassionate, and dedicated teachers in our state. Our teachers do not deserve ridicule from our board members.

To our teachers, I apologize for Mr. Becker’s comments. Such comments represent the opinions of very few stakeholders. Thank you for all you do each day for the children of the Danville Schools.

There’s no question we all own the performance of our schools. We are a proud district with rich tradition of excellence in academics, athletics, and the Arts. None of us are satisfied with our recent academic performance. However, the road to improvement begins with solid leadership, and we deserve better from our school board chairman.

Aaron Etherington