On Your Mind

(The following article is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of iFIBER ONE News, iFIBER Communications, or it’s staff)

The race for two open seats on the Moses Lake School Board, as well as the last several board meetings, has been consumed by Critical Race Theory (CRT). I get daily questions about my position on CRT, sex ed, and LGBTQ+ issues. These topics are widely discussed in the political arena on a state and national level. What isn’t being discussed is how we’re going to address the educational, social emotional, and mental health needs of students returning to school this fall after such a difficult year for everyone.

There are so many issues facing the district that require the school board’s attention. We have schools where the HVAC is unable to keep classrooms warm in the winter or cool in the spring and fall. How can we expect to improve test scores if our kids are too cold or too hot? Further complicating this is the fact that the schools with these issues are also the schools with a larger number of students who come from difficult home situations or don’t speak english as their first language.

Now we also need to take into account that kids are returning to school with very different levels of learning due to the pandemic. Some students had parents at home with them who kept them on track and they learned at a high level. Others had limited adult supervision (most often through no fault of the parent - people still have to work), and did not learn at a very high level. Some kids have very difficult situations at home where learning is extremely difficult or impossible, and they had very little or no learning last year. All of these students are coming back to our schools together, and it’s the district’s responsibility to meet them where they are with their learning, and get them back on track. Planning for this situation is extremely complex, and it consumes a lot of time and resources.

When schools were put into mostly remote learning, there was a large outcry over mental health and social emotional learning concerns. Those issues haven’t magically disappeared. In fact, they were major issues before the pandemic too. There is a significant shortage of non-emergency mental health care in our region, and the school district could be able to help. This also takes time, but it also requires passing the renewal levy that’s currently on the ballot (please vote yes on the levy).

Having said all of that, there is no effort to introduce CRT into Moses Lake Schools. Not as training for staff or as a curriculum for students - or any other way at all. There is no effort to introduce individual components of CRT into Moses Lake Schools. Anyone claiming otherwise is spreading a lie (possibly unknowingly, but still a lie). The law that people are claiming requires CRT training for school board members and administrators does not have any CRT component to it. I know this, because I’ve read the law several times. If there was a CRT component in the law, the people claiming so would be able to point it out quite easily - they can’t, because it’s not there.

Similarly, the extreme sex ed curriculum examples come from a curriculum called 3R’s. There is no legal requirement to use any part of this curriculum, and it is not used in Moses Lake Schools. OSPI specifically declares that the 3R’s curriculum is not required at any district in the state. Moses Lake is using the same sex ed curriculum as it has for the last several years. The LGBTQ+ claims that I’ve heard have been fewer in number, but they amount to rumors as well.

We have enough issues to work on in the Moses Lake School District. We don’t need to be creating issues to fight against. These hot button political topics are not helping anyone, and need to be left in the political arena, far away from our schools. I encourage people to get involved, find an issue you care about, and be part of the solution. Don’t let rumors or baseless claims derail the important work that the school district has to do.