Letter to the Editor ~ Opinion

May 11, 2019

As resident of the metro for over 30 years. The last 4 in Lee’s Summit. I have been involved in nearly every school district, in some capacity. My children have graduated from Rockhurst, Grandview and Lee’s Summit West. All were taught well and moved on to college. Much to do has been made about equity in Lee’s Summit schools, of late. And while I agree with equity in opportunity, I think it is foolhardy to think we’ll have equity in results.

Research shows that results are predicated by a combination of economics, home environment and the valuing of education. Where these matters are favorable a child, regardless of ethnicity, will succeed. Where they are unfavorable, the child struggles, no matter his or her ethnicity.

In our schools, blacks and whites have been valedictorians. This would be impossible if the school district favored one group over another, in opportunity. Those who buy in and work hard can achieve at the highest levels. Those who don’t buy in will struggle and not do as well.

While we all want to see our children excel, the school district can’t guarantee results. You can provide a very nice meal but if people refuse to eat, their nutritional deficiency is not the fault of the cook. Academic success always comes down to hard work along with parental and/or mentor support. Teachers provide every student with the same opportunity. Those who embrace the challenge succeed. Those who neglect the challenge fail.

Instead of looking to blame the system, we need to challenge all students and parents to embrace the opportunity. Parents need to support their kids and teachers. Where there is a void, community involvement through mentoring and tutoring can be life changing.

We have one of the best school districts in the state. The opportunity is here and all students and families can take advantage of the opportunity. Students from all ethnic backgrounds have graduated from LSR7 and gone on to excel in college and in life. Those students and their families embraced the challenge and were made better by it. We provide an excellent educational opportunity for all students..

The best way to produce equitable outcomes, is for students and parents to give equitable effort in the process. Where that is not possible, community involvement in support of our students can make a difference.

Instead of cursing the darkness, we need to shine a bright candle on our successes in effectively educating students from all backgrounds. Modeling successful behavior will help our students succeed. We have a great school district. Let’s build on that!

Ron Freeman