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Guest Opinion

Pennridge parents can’t afford to sleep on school board elections


Pennridge parents are busy. We have a lot to do and little time to do it. So we filter: our to-do list, our attention, and the information that comes our way.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, these filters were mistakenly applied to school board elections, to the detriment of our children and our community at large. Historically, the majority of parents of school-age children do not vote in school board elections, leaving our children’s education at the mercy of voters whose primary concern is low fiscal expenditures.

This voting pattern has led us to a school board that believes it has a mandate to reshape public education in its own image.

It is imperative that all Pennridge parents — all Pennridge residents who care about their community or their property value — do everything they can to stop the spiral down which our school board is leading us.

At this point, Pennridge parents need to be aware that the impact of our current school board on our children is real. The board focus on culture wars and micromanagement of educational decisions they are unqualified to make is having a negative impact on our students’ current learning and future potential.

Decreased academic requirements and curricular chaos are all leaving our children less prepared to compete for top academic post-secondary opportunities.

Board neglect of the most basic facts regarding developmentally appropriate practices, classroom management, social emotional learning, and the role of school in the life of the modern American family leaves our students of all ages vulnerable to a lack of resources and relationships available to school children nationwide.

Most of all, hiring Jordan Adams, of Vermilion Education, who has less educational experience and credentials than the average Pennridge teacher — and no experience whatsoever in traditional public schools — to oversee curriculum is a clear recipe for disaster.

Student achievement on all measures from third grade PSSAs to senior year AP will suffer. Our students cannot succeed when their achievement depends on a weakly supported framework of reactivity and ignorance.

Compounding all of this to an incomprehensible level, however, is the brain drain currently occurring in the district due to the disrespect with which this board is treating its teachers and administrators.

Educational staff is more than just bodies in the classroom. Teaching is an art that takes not only understanding of content, but also of the principals of education, and of the children and families that make up our community’s culture. Our children are currently losing educational experts not to retirement, but to comparable jobs elsewhere.

It is long past time for every Pennridge parent to realize that school board elections matter, and every one of us needs to take the time to show up at the polls to put our children’s future first.

The need for a total overhaul of our school board is urgent, impactful and most assuredly not just politics as usual.

Our children, our community, and even our property values only stand to lose from continuing along the trajectory of incompetence and negligence this board has chosen.

Kate Aquila lives in Dublin.

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