For the past year, every time adding the words “improve academics” to the teachers’ contracts and the superintendent’s goals, the majority of the Litchfield Elementary School District Governing Board voted against including them.
At the same time, academic achievement scores have plummeted, with only 29 percent of Litchfield Elementary School District (LESD) graduates proficient in math.
In fact, the Litchfield Elementary School District’s “Goals and Pillars” fail to mention improving academics.
At the January 11, 2022 Governing Board meeting, Board member Melissa Zuidema noted that “Academic Excellence” was one of the goals, but refused to explain how the District might achieve it as the current scores make excellence out-of-reach, and continue to decline.
Newly elected Board President, Kimberly Moran, who was cited recently for violating Arizona’s Open Meeting Law by holding up a sign reading “Not True” when a member of the public was speaking, simply dismissed the suggestion of “improving academics” as “political.”
LESD stakeholders say the Governing Board has a perfect record of supporting the widely unpopular Critical Race Theory-based (CRT) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs and policies, but refuse to adopt programs and policies proven to increase academic performance.
Critics say LESD has gone to great lengths and put the District in legal peril in order to advance CRT and SEL. In fact, Litchfield received another Open Meeting Law Violation, for illegally having a Diversity Empowerment Committee secretly create an Equity Statement, which bragged, “We subscribe to author Ibram X. Kendi’s definition: “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.” The board quietly passed the Equity Statement on December 9, 2020, conveniently not mentioning Ibram X. Kendi, who professes to be a Marxist.
Parents were outraged when they found out about this in March 2021, and made their opposition known to the Board. The parents made national news and the YAF video has 780,000 views and 55,000 likes.
To remedy this, Litchfield paid a consulting firm $5,500 to survey parents and teachers. Not surprisingly, “improving academics” was the highest priority for parents and “equity” was the seventh and lowest priority for parents. Within hours, the Governing Board passed a new Equity Statement, to uphold what appears to be its most coveted goal: to force Critical Race Theory on young children. Two weeks earlier they had already voted again to not include “improve academics” in the superintendent’s goals.
The Litchfield Governing Board also has a perfect record voting against kids or at least their parents. According to the results of the $5500 survey, the Board has a perfect score of consistently voting against the parents’ wishes and what is best for kids.
The Litchfield Governing Board also has a perfect record of voting for what many believe are colossal wastes of money for distractions such as “Conscious Discipline.” The Arizona Attorney General’s Government Accountability Unit is currently investigating multiple charges of alleged violations of Arizona procurement laws. One charge alleges that the Litchfield superintendent and a high-level administrator personally benefited by accepting free luxury hotel rooms at the Wigwam Resort for a week and cash stipends from the Conscious Discipline vendor. In September, Litchfield asked the Board for another $10,000 for airfare and hotel rooms to attend another Conscious Discipline event.
In the meantime, criminal charges alleging rough physical discipline practices have been filed against former Litchfield employees and four bus routes are indefinitely canceled, causing nightmares for many families.
Stakeholders say that given the performance of the Board majority and LESD administration failures, there is little doubt why LESD’s teachers are stressed to the breaking point and 71 percent of Litchfield graduates cannot do math according to Arizona standards.