Gun violence, not academic achievement, worries teachers: exec

Gun violence, not academic achievement, worries teachers: exec

In what New York Times education correspondent Erica Green called a “mic drop moment,” executive director of The School Superintendents Association (AASA) Dan Domenech said that academic achievement is not what is keeping educators up at night.

“Low test scores are not going to kill a child. A bullet will,” Domenech said Monday in a panel hosted by the Education Writers Association.

Twitter commentary called out Domenech’s comments as downplaying the importance of academic achievement in schools. 

“We have to stop telling black & brown children that test scores don’t matter when we know that they do,” Janice Jackson, the CEO of Hope Chicago, tweeted. “We can debate whether it should but right now it does. This is literally killing them. Education attainment is tied to every quality of life indicator. Infuriating & wrong!” 

“So teachers don’t care about education, just events that are statistically incredibly unlikely?” Bethany Mandel, an author and mother of five, tweeted.

“Keep telling parents academic achievement doesn’t matter and thinking it’s a mic drop,” Rory Cooper tweeted. “After two years it’s incredible how little reflection and awareness these folks still have.” 

A Treasure Island police officer, center, and a Large police officer, right, help students escape a classroom through a window during a multi-agency active assailant/mass casualty exercise at High Point Elementary School in Pinellas County on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
Schools have been on high alert due to the uptick in shootings within the last few months.
Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP

“This is very revealing – another powerful advertisement for school choice,” Fox News contributor Guy Benson.

Associate Executive Director of Advocacy and Governance at AASA Noelle Ellerson Ng told Fox News Digital that school achievement is important, but not the only thing that matters. 

“School achievement matters,” she said, but noted that gun violence in schools is a “consistent and persistent threat.” 

“A bad test score won’t kill a child. A bullet will,” she reiterated. 

According to a position paper on school safety, AASA recommends school districts have several safety programs and procedures in place to ensure student safety, and also recommends Congress take several steps to enhance school safety and pass gun safety legislation. 

Dan Domenech stood his ground when it came to talking about gun violence and academic achievement.
“Low test scores are not going to kill a child. A bullet will,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA.

Among AASA’s recommendations to school districts are having both individual school and district-wide safety plans in place, conducting audits to evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of those plans, training school employees on the district’s school emergency management systems and protocols, and creating partnerships between schools, law enforcement and community agencies. 

AASA also recommends Congress increase funding for several programs, including Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the STOP School Violence Act Grants, and asked Congress to support federal funding for research into the root causes of gun violence, and to increase funding for mental health counselors in schools. 

AASA also supports gun safety legislation that would ban “the sale, import, transfer and ownership of assault weapons,” require thorough background checks for all gun purchases, prevent “individuals convicted of violent crimes” and “individuals with mental health issues” from purchasing or owning guns, and “punish irresponsible gun owners.” 

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