Letter To The Editor: Teachers United Call For Action Over Superintendent Dismissal
To the residents of the Española Valley;
Last Wednesday, April 6th, the Española School Board struck a devastating blow to the heart of our community: our children.
Three members, Pablo Lujan, Lucas Fresquez and Annabelle Almager, voted to push out Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez, and in doing so halt the tremendous progress that Gutierrez and her staff have made over the last year, which by most accounts is more than was made in the last 20 years.
Unfortunately, this is not unusual. Our school boards, according to their political and personal interests, have replaced superintendents more than 10 times in the last 13 years resulting in our schools being left to flounder.
Enough is enough. We are no longer willing to let a small group of individuals ruin our schools. We’ll no longer stand by while our kids are used as pawns in political games, all the while struggling to read, write and do math.
“The kids are our future” is an overused cliché, but that does not make it any less true. In the case of the Española Valley, our kids are the only hope we have for improving a community riddled with poverty. Without a high quality education, too many of our Valley’s children will continue to sink in the quicksand of hunger, drug use, crime and incarceration.
For years, residents have defended Española against the negative reputation and ridicule held by too many in the outside world. But merely disputing this is no longer enough. We have to back those words up with action.
Our first course is to make those school board members, who have allowed their ties to other local politicians to dictate their decisions, understand that their actions have not gone unnoticed. We must publicly and loudly denounce the moves they’ve made and demand that they reverse them to restore order to a potentially chaotic atmosphere.
We must voice the real concerns of our school and larger community by telling our board members that having a 50 percent graduation rate is unacceptable. We must tell them that sending our kids off unprepared for college is morally wrong, and that by failing kids they have failed all of us.
Please contact board members to let them know that there is no place for politics in our schools. To find out which member serves your district visit the Rio Arriba County Clerk’s website. Board members’ contact information is listed on the Española Public Schools website, www.k12espanola.org.
Please join us April 20 at 5:30 p.m. at Carlos Vigil Middle School to stand up for our kids and take our schools back.
Española Valley Teachers United