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Most media on the the issue of public schools is local and not very well covered. If you don’t have children in a public school then this is typically news you wouldn’t follow. If you have children in an A or B school and live in a nice community, you think the problem is isolated and/or being exaggerated. If you are poor then you are used to having sub-standard conditions and have essentially given up hope that things will change or people will listen. If you are a minority with a first generation child, then you might think this is the norm and if you don’t speak English, well then you accept it. If your child does not have an IEP or 504, then you probably don’t know how long it takes to get testing done or schedule a meeting with all the stakeholders or how much parents have to work to get the resources that are mandated to their child.
People don’t know, because until recently-thank you opt out movement- these problems have been swept under the rug or chalked up to bad teachers complaining about their “cushy” jobs. My older children are 20 and 22. I have met every single teacher through grade 12 for each of my children, attended every open house, and been a part of pta, been a room mom, and have had an open dialogue with my children about their school day since they stepped foot in their first classroom.
I was not aware of how bad it was until I went back to school to get my degree. I think it’s amazing that teachers have the ability to be so rosy on the outside and talk so positively about the changes during an open house while slowly dying on the inside. It’s the forced facade of teachers that has kept so many people in the dark about the problems happening in schools.

It’s the lawyers who pass the blame between district, state, and federal, each claimingit’s the others responsibility and no one with any power will step up and admit, ” yeah, we broke public schools- we’re sorry” and then actually listen to the one group that is involved in the trenches, every day -teachers- because they know what’s wrong; they live it. So yes, it’s frustrating to be educated about an issue and have most of the general population still in the dark, but people are talking and changes will be made. I am so grateful I am no longer in the dark.

I am fortunate not to have learned the hard way, but by chance. I am fortunate my son does not stress about a test, but it kept me in the dark about how bad they are. I am fortunate my children did well in school, they didn’t need interventions or specialized plans, but it kept me in the dark. I am grateful their teachers always made things appear as if the system was working-they were doing their jobs, but it kept me in the dark. I don’t blame anyone that is not educated about an issue- I educate them.

Stacie P Dern for Duval School Board seat 7

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