The Moscow School District is exceptional. Its graduates go on to a wide-variety of pursuits and include students at trade schools, colleges and universities across the country, including Cornell, Stanford, West Point and Yale. Graduates include military enlistees and young adults that directly enter the workforce.
Prior to the district-wide mandatory implementation of Mastery Based Learning and Standards Based Grading, Moscow School District was not broken. As with all organizations, there is always room for improvement. The 2015 AdvancED External Review Team Report for MSD identified, in part, the following weaknesses: 1) communication with stakeholders; 2) the aging school buildings; and 3) the need for a safety plan.
The district’s decision to apply for and accept a role as an experimental incubator site and mandate Mastery Based Learning and Standards Based Grading districtwide was not required or necessary and these decisions now appear to be contributing to a division between schools and departments, overburdening our teachers and decreasing motivation in students.
As parents of two MSD students, we echo the words of Rep. Bill Goesling at the Nov. 19 special board meeting and ask the MSD Board of Trustees to stop. Stop the travel to indoctrinate staff and extol the virtues of Mastery Based Learning and Standards Based Grading programming. Stop the purchase of software to implement Mastery Based Learning and Standards Based Grading. Stop buying, and buying into, what the paid consultants are selling. Stop this experiment with our children’s education.
Instead, listen. Listen to students’ feedback. Listen to parents’ concerns. Listen to what our experienced, dedicated professional educators have identified as issues, problems and solutions. Return to our teachers the academic freedom and autonomy to teach how they deem appropriate. The continued success of our school district and our students depends on it.
Danelle and Derek Forseth, Moscow