Teachers support 3A and 3B and the public should, too
By Heather O’Brien
The Mesa Valley Education Association is fully in favor of measures 3A and 3B.
Some may think that is only because five additional days of school will line the already full wallets of wealthy teachers, but I assure you, that’s not it. Not a single teacher went into this career to get rich. We teach because we want to make a difference in the world, one student at a time. Yep we’re that idealistic. We’re also idealistic enough to believe that education matters, and that our public shares that value.
There are numerous reasons for teachers and the public to support a mill levy and bond issue. First, those five days. That’s a lot of instruction time. Students already lose weeks of instruction time due to the state mandated testing. That fact coupled with our district having so few days of school (due to funding), make five additional days priceless. Students can receive a lot of learning in a week’s time. More time learning is reason enough to vote yes on the mill.
Curriculum is also part of the mill. Ask a teacher when was the last time they got new textbooks. Not once in 14 years in my English teacher experience. Most of the books on my classroom shelf were purchased with my own money. Many science and social studies teachers rely on materials they have purchased themselves or items they find online. We do our best with what we have, but there comes a point when it is important that history books reflect who the current president is and what happened beyond 2001.
As for the bond, well, I attended Orchard Mesa Junior High. My mom was a custodian there. Between what I saw as a kid and the stories my mom would tell me about the state of building, I knew that building had issues in 1981. Things have only gotten worse.
There’s a physical reason to give students and teachers a safe place to work in, but there’s also a psychological one. What are we, as a public, inadvertently telling those students when they attend a school which smells like sewer and has weeds growing out of cracks in the wall? And what message would we send by building them a new one? That education matters. That they matter! They matter enough that complete strangers would pay more so that they can feel proud to go to school.
Other buildings will also benefit from the bond issue. Try paying attention in my daughter’s pre-calculus class at Palisade High School when it’s 85-90 degrees in the room. An HVAC system isn’t a luxury; it is an educational necessity when the room is that hot.
The list goes on and on.
In short: it’s public education. It is funded by the public. It starts with kids coming through classroom doors. And they will keep coming year after year. Let us, as the public, support them in their educational journey. Let us invest in our wonderful valley and in our students. Vote yes on 3A and 3B.
On a personal note, and not in my official capacity, I’m voting yes on the public safety measures too. If the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office are in as dire straits as the school district, then I understand how much worse things can get if funding doesn’t increase for these critical public entities.
It’s our valley; let’s build it up!
Heather O’Brien is president of the Mesa Valley Education Association.