Something Gone Wrong

Karina Lande  | Corbett, OR | May 6, 2015

Corbett is a lifestyle, not its schools. But, are our schools slowly destroying that lifestyle?

I was raised in a small town. My best friend from second grade is still my best friend today. Just last weekend I was with a large group of pals from grade school to celebrate a classmates 40th Birthday. When I see my daughters with their own best pals, here in Corbett, to me it represents the beginning of something great. The best childhood ever, of running free through the woods and playing in creeks, and budding friendships that can last a lifetime.

However something’s gone wrong. Something is threatening all of these things for my children. Something is creating a divide and tearing the very fabric that holds together this perfect life in Corbett. That, sadly, is our schools.

creekIn the 4 years my oldest has been in school she has experienced the loss of many good friends. Kids whose parents tried so hard but inevitably came to a decision to take their kids out of our schools and put them into other districts. One day they are there, the next they’re gone. Try explaining that to 6-8 year olds, “why would they not like my school anymore mom? Why do I still go here then?” How do you answer “Will all my friends leave Corbett?”

Then there’s also the constantly changing influx in and out of our schools, of kids and families from neighboring towns. Friendships made and yet many of these parents have now pulled their kids out of Corbett too.

Maybe you are at that crossroads yourself, facing the hard decision if Corbett schools are truly serving the needs of your child. It’s a hard spot to be and you suffer in silence deciding which will have the least ill effect on them, to stay, or to go?

There are multiple reasons this happens, but unfortunately unless you know these families personally you will never hear the why, or the reasons they removed their children. Our district doesn’t do exit interviews. They don’t seem to care why. They seem to think there’s this limitless supply of out of area kids ready to come and fill the seats of our classrooms. We’ve become a revolving door, but what is the cost to our children, to our community?

Then there’s the facilities bonds. The almost 2 full years of community turmoil in its failing, and repeatedly being put back on the ballot. The divide in the community is growing every day, your only fooling yourselves if you don’t think it trickles down to the kids. Teachers telling students during drills if it was real they’d all be dead. Hmm a ploy to run home and tell mom and dad to vote yes, with no consideration to the reasons why they may have voted no? And an administration whom publicly defends these actions because after all, we make the teachers work in these horrible buildings every day.

Then there’s board elections and Teacher Union endorsements. I can tell you from experience it’s great to have your child come home and ask you, why their teacher doesn’t like you…Thanks CEA for making my child feel torn between her teacher and her parents, at the age of 7.

Our children in the older grades are talking and laughing about the extramarital relations of our superintendent and a school staff member. The counselor whom is guiding them in their own life decisions. A fine example of accountability and ethics that has been.

Have your lifetime friendships been negatively impacted by the issues surrounding our schools? Do your children no longer get invites from certain kids because of how you may feel about the politics? Or perhaps you simply no longer share your thoughts for fear of ridicule or being labeled as “one of them”? These are things I have heard from many residents, it’s very sad, but it is also very real.

The politics are in the classrooms. The divides are in the schools. This community is broken.

Is this really what we have let Corbett become? And are we willing to sit back and let all of this continue? It’s time for change. It’s time to stop ignoring the issues.

It’s time to put some people on our school board who are already educated on the issues our district faces. People who will start to deal with these things head on and bring this community back together. It’s time to stop letting our neighbors leave. It’s time to address our facility and budget needs with a new perspective. It’s time for a long term sustainable plan for our schools and this community. It’s quite simply, time to stop labeling and time to start listening.