Parents, teachers and taxpayers in the Dulce School District are not being treated fairly by the Board or administration. The many ongoing problems in the District have resulted in the state Public Education Department threatening to come in and address the problems Dulce leaders apparently cannot or will not.
Dulce Elementary has received an F score for at least three consecutive years, forcing the District to take drastic action to turn it around. To do so requires them to take one of four options, all severe, requiring much work and an engaged, skilled Board and administration.
Over 100 sets of parents have come up with a fifth option: drive daily to the Colorado border and get their children educated in a safe environment, with qualified teachers and proper administration.
No child, or their parent(s) should have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to the border, switch to a school bus, then ride the remainder of the 35-mile, hour-and-a-half trek to get a proper education. But good for these parents that they care enough about their child’s education to do just that.
The result is tired children, and tired and frustrated parents.
Dulce lacks the leadership and administration to address the issue. The Board likes to think Dulce School District is an extension of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and should not answer to the state, taxpayers or the public in general.
We can’t begin to understand why tribal elders would select Levi Pesata to serve as president of the Nation and then allow him to be president of the school Board. We understand he has a ton of experience as the superintendent of the District but his bag of tricks seems empty. He’s also his own worst enemy when it comes to communication and public relations.
The Department rejected the District’s corrective action plan twice and had some biting comments regarding the April 27 rejection, its most recent. In the Department’s most recent denial of Dulce’s proposed plan to turn the District around, it stated Dulce had failed an entire generation of children. That’s not hyperbole.
It did accept the third plan and Dulce must now work to execute that plan. While the District tries to figure out how to repair its broken program, parents and students can’t wait.
It’s ironic that the Nation rants on about preserving culture, promoting tradition and growing as a people, but it won’t educate its own youth. How are they to learn and grow without a proper education? Dulce School District’s lack of urgency feels more like leaders are fine holding back their youth, almost on purpose.
Another problem the administration refuses to address is the massive bullying problem the District suffers. Reading the 100 bullying reports in a school of 450 students makes it sounds as though students are running amok.
We understand the state is in no better position to run Dulce School District than the people on the ground in Dulce. However, state officials can’t stand idly by while parents perform a transportation work-around and put an unfair load on a school district in another state. These are our problems, not Colorado’s and the state must address them.