To the editor:

In a guest column that appeared in the Nov. 11 Edina Sun Current, Joe Nathan offered very good advice to school boardmembers, but let me call out two things.

He closes by reminding people they are representing those who elected them. Most eligible to vote are not parents with students in the district. Some are Edina High School seniors who have turned 18. Others have graduates and know how well the district prepared them for the world. Others are parents who attend other public and private schools. Others see only kids out in the community.

Truthfully, it isn’t the either/or choice presented. Schools exist to educate every student, including those who don’t live in the district. Schools prepare students for life. I have two grads in their 30s. They are having very productive lives. That appears to be true for virtually all their friends. The momentary traumas they experienced taught them resilience.

Along that line, there was a statement about too many educators not allowing themselves to be held accountable. For a column that emphasizes measurement, nary a number or any evidence supports this opinion. Provide evidence or let it go.

Teachers are accountable for different down-to-earth things – student management, grading homework, being sensitive to struggling students, providing useful feedback and teaching thinking skills. They do this for two dozen students or more all day. They also test and probably do 100 discrete things a day. They also learned how to do virtual education on the fly. They are also human and respond better to support and praise than personal attacks.

If anything, we ask teachers to accomplish a lot for many. Most contribute beyond expectations, such as by buying classroom supplies out of their paycheck. Blanket criticism of teachers considering our great outcomes is wrong. Like a struggling student, they need support, not shame.

We have an abundance of talented and committed people helping our students. We can all look for ways to help. Those of us with grads can assure you – Edina Schools is preparing students to live in an unexpected world, where they can and do thrive.

Joel Stegner


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