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Student view: Going 'Back to Basics' means going back in time

Guest writer Noah M is a sophomore at Catalina Foothills High School

With their slogan of ‘Back to Basics’, the BtB slate attempts to bring a more ‘traditional’ approach to learning, which strikes me as a very bad idea. In my mind, traditional learning means going back to old-fashioned ways, and along with that comes racism, sexism, homophobia, stigma, and ableism.

After reading the recent Back to Basics emails several times, I found myself confused by some of their reasoning. For example, they claim that all students and parents should be treated the same no matter race, sex, status, or health, which I completely agree with. However, they also talked about how they disagree with mental health counseling and gender-affirming care, which completely discriminates against students wishing to get help. They state that “They (counselors) should not direct children to private chatrooms that expose them to potential predators and promote “gender affirming care” (genital surgeries, puberty blockers, etc.) for vulnerable and confused students…”

Saying our counselors do this is just completely false. The services provided by counselors do not direct students to ‘chatrooms’ with ‘potential predators’. No, counselors are just there for students who wish to talk about something they don’t feel comfortable talking about with their parents or friends. Even the suggestion of counselors taking a ‘more traditional role’ (i.e. no counseling) is preposterous given how many teenagers struggle with mental health issues these days.

I also noticed that their emails constantly mention declining test scores, and provide links to websites where they got this information. After visiting the AZ School Report Card website and scrolling down to the assessment scores for math and ELA, I was surprised at what I saw. For example, it’s not very surprising to see that 83% of new English learners are not proficient in English or that 78% of Special Education learners are not proficient in English. BtB cleverly cherry-picks the data that supports their claim that “CFSD is a failing school district”. This is simply not true and can be seen if the data is analyzed appropriately. Coincidentally, much of the data BtB chose to highlight will be inaccurate for the school district today and also will be faulty because of Covid-19 and online learning.

This brings me on to a BtB claim that is blatantly untruthful. They talk about CFSD being a failing school district, even though CFSD is the #1 non-selective school district in Arizona and all of our schools have just received "A" letter grades. That doesn't seem not too shabby to me.

Thank you for making it this far.

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