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As a former teacher in District 65, I am distressed to hear the continuing news coming from the district.
In talking with Evanston residents, I am hearing that there are a number of teachers, principals and department heads that have left the district because of the lack of respect for their professionalism. I have also heard that parents feel the board is unresponsive to their concerns, and the board is making impactful decisions without public discourse. Parents have spoken of trying to engage in dialogue with administrators and are called racists because they are questioning protocols. They are reluctant to speak.
Students in the schools are breaking out in fights which certainly adds to the angst spoken of by staff and parents alike.
I taught in District 65 at the time of desegregation. We were proud of our developing abilities to discuss and listen to issues together. The Martin Luther King Lab School was formed at Foster School as a collaboration between the Black and white parents.
Our superintendents, Dr. Coffin and Dr. Hill, knew all the teachers, visited the schools often and were invested in the staff and educational growth of the community. They listened to the staff. Bob Dawkins, head of pupil services and vice principal, and Dr. Corrine Schumacher, principal, were there to guide us. It helped us all to work hard for all the children in our care. There certainly were problems, but we solved them together. I loved working in District 65.
I don’t hear much about this collegial spirit. What could be more important than working together? What could be more important than gathering together to ask questions about the stresses in our school system?
Evanston can do much better than this.
Former Teacher at Martin Luther King Laboratory School