Mesa Pools Before Mesa Students

I am a part-time substitute English teacher for Mesa Public Schools. I have taught at Skyline, Dobson, Westwood, Mountain View, and Mesa High Schools. A reoccurring trend has appeared in each school at which I have taught over the last year. The books that students are assigned to read are not made available to them outside the classroom. In other words, they cannot do homework from the books. Consequently, when I teach, I spend most of my time reading out loud to the students from texts, they should have read at home. The reason for the problem is because Mesa Public Schools will not enact a budget to buy enough books for students to take home. The entire English Department shares a very small pool of books, so after my class, I am required to place the books in a box to give to the next teacher. 

The City of Mesa is paying more than $6.6 million to install a luxury aquatic facility on the Mesa High School campus. The rationale was to provide the Mesa High School swim team a newer place to practice. In 2011 Skyline High School spent $7.9 million for their state-of-the-art swim facility. Each high school has separate buildings for locker room facilities designated for the football teams with very expensive, cutting-edge training equipment. Mesa Public Schools has spent millions of dollars to support its sports teams; however, it is not willing to pay for books so students can do their English homework. 

Sadly, most of these out-of-copyright books are free. Schools would just need to pay for the paper on which to print them. With digital media, we could assign students to obtain the books for free via Kindle, Apple, Google, etc. Reading out loud is, indeed, a waste of teaching time when it could be done at home. For very little money and a requirement that students do their homework, Mesa Public Schools could substantially improve the education of our children. Incidents like this suggest that Mesa Public Schools value sports-athletics, and developing student athletes above education. I asked a faculty member at Mesa HS why the children didn’t have their own copies of the book. She responded, “It doesn’t really matter. It’s not like the students would do the homework, even if you assigned it.” Have we lost faith in our students? Mesa Public Schools will never be taken seriously as an academic school district until teachers believe that their students can succeed. They can demonstrate their faith by purchasing them their own books. I call for the Mesa School Governing Board to put our children’s education first by budgeting books before athletics.

Brian King, Mesa AZ

 The construction site of the new Aquatic facility on the Mesa High School campus. (1)
Taken from the pool sight (2)
An image of what the Mesa Aquatic Complex will look like when it is completed (Courtesy of the City of Mesa)
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