Oops! We did it again!

Oops! We did it again!

I have only gone to Helena twice in the last two weeks, but there is a chance GFPS has come up a little more than that in the halls of the Capitol and in the halls of OPI. Here’s why:

• Thanks to Principal Uecker and a couple of his students, GFPS provided testimony at the hearing on a bill that would provide funding for 19-year olds. Lots of legislators don’t want to pay for the education of students who just need a little more time.
• We held a press conference with United Way that not only released our drop-out and on-time graduation rates, but also made it clear that we would continue with the Graduation Matters initiative with or without OPI and our new Superintendent of Public Instruction’s support.
• I asked hard questions of Superintendent Arntzen about the so-called ACT testing issue at the Board of Public Education meeting week before last. The free ACT test is a good thing for our students.
• At the Elementary Principals’ Conference held here in Great Falls last week, I asked Ms. Arntzen if she could see a way forward for funding preschool. When she answered that she wouldn’t “impede” it if the Legislature passed it, I told her I was “disheartened” by that answer. I happen to think that because it would be her job to support the laws that she was elected to implement, that she would actually advocate for it if it were to be passed. My comments have not been without criticism. You can see some here as well as my response: http://ecitybeat.com/showboatin/.

While I never want to distract from the hard and important work we do every day to ensure that our students achieve to their highest potential, I also will never cower from saying and doing what I believe is right for our kids, for all kids, and for every kid. I know that there are many of you that feel the same way and that you speak up in your own ways. I thank you for proving again and again that GFPS will be on the right side of history. That we will always advocate for our students and for the public education they deserve. Oops! We did it again…and we’re going to keep doing it!

Take care. Be safe. Stay well.