Behrendt: Leadership failure in the DeForest Area School District

Our children are not receiving an adequate education in the DeForest Area School District.

It’s reasonable to give DASD a pass for the poor quality of the spring education. Now however, they need to deliver better. Our kids are getting less than two hours of online instruction, four days a week – this is hardly effective and certainly not the “robust” virtual education we were promised multiple times over the summer. The upcoming “hybrid” model is also ridiculous – two days a week in person and three days on your own is not acceptable by any commonsense, real-world standard. It is time that the superintendent shows some leadership and finds a reasonable way to accommodate a full time in-person learning option right now. Enough excuses.

Our Board of Education isn’t off the hook either. Their duty is to set the citizen’s desired outcomes and hold the superintendent responsible to meet them. In my opinion, the current board is less concerned with our student’s educational outcomes and more concerned with being friends with the superintendent. I encourage our BOE to be more skeptical of the “it takes time to transition” or any of the other excuses we’ve heard and have the difficult conversations. Time is of the essence, right now our kids are paying the price.

Let me be crystal clear: this is not a failure of the teachers; it is a failure of the superintendent to make good choices and the BOE to hold him accountable to deliver our community’s educational goals. We as a community need to get both parties back on course for our children’s sake. I am encouraging you to call and email the board members if you’d like to make your voices known. Be honest, be respectful, but be heard — being silent is being complicit.

But what about COVID-19 you ask? COVID-19 is serious to some families and they by all means should do what they need to do to protect themselves. Whatever that is shouldn’t preclude in-person learning for families that choose to accept the (statistically extremely low) risk of going back. I would like to point out the obvious: schools all around us are operating in person; daycares are operating in person; businesses are operating; police and fire departments are operating, etc. We do not live in a world of zero risk, COVID-19 can be managed and we can be in-person if the will to do so is there.

Finally, according to DASD’s own survey — 69% of parents would definitely send their kids in-person if given the option. Remember, the school district is OUR school district, it’s time we hold them accountable to provide the quality education we pay for.

Let’s go back!

Chris Behrendt

DeForest

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