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Opinion >  Letters

The future of Spokane education

Covid has surfaced a chorus of concerns about how our schools, at their best, will look in post-pandemic Spokane. Most opinions suggest, “Spokane will never be the same”; “there’s no going back to the way things were.” I would add, “We need to be Aspirational, Bold and Creative (ABC), keeping the highest hopes for ALL our kids in mind, as we plan the schools of the future.”

The Spokesman’s May 3rd editorial focused on the School Calendar as a pressing reform strategy. It suggested that our kids are “falling behind.” That they need more time to “catch up.” Falling behind who? Who are we trying to catch? Schools, as the virus is teaching us, are not about Time and Place. They are about Learning. And learning is not a game of Beat the Clock. It is an intimate connection between a smart teacher, a uniquely talented student and learning opportunities that are rich and mattering.

Instead of worrying about the calendar, we might ask, “Are we giving All our kids, all they need, to get the life they deserve?” Schools have been challenged to Leave No Child Behind for two decades. Today, we continue to be mired in disparities and inequities and Opportunity and Achievement Gaps that haunt our collective conscience. We must do better.

Spokane needs an educational Call to Action — a full-court community press to build school cultures where ALL kids are known, where confidence and competence and hope flourishes in every Spokane student.

Cleve Penberthy



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