Missoula League has adopted these positions related to Education:
Position on School District #1
The Missoula League of Women Voters supports enrollment policies which consider the following:
a.) equal opportunities in education;
b.) consideration of educational benefits as well as expenses;
c.) neighborhood grouping; and
d.) age grouping.
1. In defining Aeducational opportunity for all children,@ League members consider the quality of teaching most important, followed by the necessity for administrative support of good teaching. Opportunities for learning should be equally available for all students in terms of facilities and curricula.
2. If it can be shown that educational benefits are substantial, members feel the public is willing to bear reasonable costsCi.e., the cheapest school program is not automatically the bestCor the worst.
3. Rather than a brief, narrow definition of Aneighborhood school,@ League members prefer to describe the concept as: children and parents should have a sense of belonging to their school. Fracturing of neighborhoods is counter-productive as educational policy and divisive of families and normal social groupings. Fracturing of neighborhoods destroys the sense of community that should be part of the school experience of children.
4. Without identifying specific locations or groupings of grades, members accept alternative grouping of grades.
1. The Board of Trustees should formulate written policies to guide the administration in making decisions that have previously been made without this uniform direction. The League prefers flexibility within a written policy to the unpredictable quality of decision-making without any policy or guidelines.
The Missoula League of Women Voters:
1. Supports equal educational opportunity in all schools for all children and believes that this should be the primary factor in formulating enrollment policy in School District #1.
2. Believes in solving the uneven enrollment problems, while giving careful consideration to educational benefits as well as expenses.
3. Believes that children from a geographically-defined neighborhood need to attend the same school. The school needs to be as close to the childrens= homes as possible or, if necessary, the children should be bussed as a group so the neighborhood groups will not be fractured.
4. Believes the rearrangement of enrollment by new grouping of grades is the most acceptable way of accommodating present and future needs.
5. Believes that the Board of Trustees of School District #1 should formulate and publish policies to apply uniformly on:
a. School attendance boundaries;
b. Bussing for equalization of class size;
c. Bussing for safety;
d. Prioritizing grades to be bused.
Position on Basic Principles
about Public Education
The Missoula League of Women Voters believes a primary purpose of public education in the United States is to produce informed, active, creative citizens with critical-thinking skills necessary for the success of our representative form of government. Public education must instruct students in the common heritage of all American groups and promote the tolerance and diversity that preserves our democratic institutions and safeguards our individual liberties. Therefore:
The Missoula League of Women Voters, consistent with the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, believes that in public education:
- Intellectual and academic freedom for both students and teachers must be respected;
- These freedoms must be upheld within the framework of law and mutual regard for all persons; and
- These freedoms may be tempered by appropriateness to the goals of specific courses and those of the student.
The Missoula League of Women Voters believes that teaching in public schools should be accurate and unbiased and that:
- The facts of a diverse world that is multi-cultural, multi-racial, and which includes both women and men, should be addressed;
- Wide exposure to a diversity of viewpoints should be available to students in addition to instruction in basic academic skills; and
- A robust exchange of ideas is essential to the development of skills for critical thinking and rational decision-making.
The Missoula LWV supports the Supreme Court decision which holds that A...one=s education is not complete without a study of religion and...its relationship to the advancement of civilization....@
- Secular education should incorporate the study of important religious ideas and history into courses where relevant, but
- The teaching of various religious ideas and beliefs must never attempt to indoctrinate students in the tenets of a particular religion.
The League of Women Voters believes that in public education there must be a balance among legitimate rights of parents to control the education of their own children, the rights of all students to learn, and the country=s need for educated citizens.
The Missoula League of Women Voters further holds that adequate funding, that is both efficient and equitable, must be assured for high equality public education. The Missoula League also, along with all Leagues, believes government at all levels must be accountable and accessible to citizens by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings, and making public records available.