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September 9, 2021 Excerpt from the Open Letter to Montanans from Kirk J. Miller, EdD, “Consider the Value of Your Public School in Your Community:”
“My appeal to our community members is the fact that never before (in the middle of the pandemic) has it been more important to stand up for your community school by making your voice of support heard on your expectations going forward, and to do that with the civility Montanans are known for. Reflect on the value of your school in your community, not just for you, but also for the common good. The health, economic viability, and sense of pride we have when rallying around our kids and their accomplishments. That is the Montana way. Montana cannot afford to lose educational leaders, educators, and all of the community members who serve to meet our children’s needs because they can no longer endure working in a toxic political environment. Your next-door neighbor who is committed to the career of educating our children is not an evil co-conspirator intending to harm children and our Montana way of life. If this unsubstantiated surge against those serving your community’s children continues, I have learned that our educational leaders, educators, and support team will not continue to work in this environment under these conditions. We already face a severe shortage of quality educators in Montana, particularly rural Montana. If community schools cannot put together the education team to serve your children, the locally controlled community school will no longer exist. Consider how that will impact your community. There is no expectation that for-profit private schools charging large tuition have any intention of opening up in Montana (even in our large communities) because it is hard work and expensive to invest in the education of children. So, if your community school no longer exists, most of Montana will have the opportunities available through online charter schools that turn a profit on the efficiencies created by remote learning. All of our communities learned the value of in-person learning when the pandemic required many schools to move to remote learning last school year, and the difficulties that created for parents/workers/community members in implementing education for their children. Online-only opportunities for educating children in our communities through the mantra of private charters are a lacking substitute for the system of schools that you have in your community. I appeal to you, to please rise up now and support your local public school and their efforts and energy to keep in person learning opportunities in place for our children! That is the Montana way!” Kirk J. Miller, EdD
As your Butte Silver Bow County Superintendent of Schools, I wish to join Dr. Miller in “appealing to you, to please rise up now and support your local public school and their efforts and energy to keep in person learning opportunities in place for our children! That is the Montana way!”
When children are in their desks, the community functions normally and I’d like to see us return to normal, sooner rather than later. Stay smart, safe, and well,