Dear Editor:

Are you satisfied with the Pagosa schools’ performance?

Go here to see the grades of the elementary school and look at years 2010-2012 to see the decline:

D+ in reading just doesn’t suffice. It is shameful.

Go here to see the middle school as compared to other middle schools:

The middle school is doing better over the last three years, but is it acceptable?

Finally, the high school:

What happened? It’s terrible, unacceptable and a total failure. Look at the remediation rate for college and career readiness: 52 percent of Pagosa high school students entering Colorado colleges can’t read, do math or science on a college level and have to take high school-level courses to stay in college or be prepared for a career. This is shameful.

Why has this happened?  How can we find out? Should we bother? Who is going to take the reins and do something about this?

An interesting fact is that the enrollment in all the public schools has declined significantly, mostly in the high school. In 2006, total enrollment of all three schools was 1,600, and is estimated for 2012 at 1,388.  Why? Obviously, many people moved from Pagosa when the economy tanked, but are you aware that since 2010, 20 percent of eligible students have not attended Pagosa schools? In 1992, almost 100 percent of eligible students attended Pagosa schools. Another reason for the drop in enrollment is an increase in home schooling, and, of course, high school dropouts have increased. These facts were researched and verified by the School Study Group headed by Bob Lynch and charged by the school board to discover what needs to be done to the school facilities.

The study on enrollment was done by Bruce Dryburgh, my husband and a member of the School Study Group. One conclusion is that we don’t need more square footage for existing and future enrollment over the next decade. Still to be studied are issues like school safety, education standards, physical environment, compliance with the American Disabilities Act, and facilities maintenance standards. I, among many others, have a huge concern that school maintenance has been inadequate.

The public is welcome to attend meetings of this study group any time. E-mail Bob Lynch at for time and place. Volunteers with skills, experience or interest are welcome to join the group in its efforts. If not us, who?

I recommend watching a very inspiring message by Dr. Ben Carson about U.S. education. It can be viewed at

Another recommendation is William J. Bennett’s book, “The Educated Child.”


“The Educated Child defines a good education and offers parents a plan of action for ensuring that their children achieve it. Combining the goals that William Bennett enumerated as Secretary of Education, key excerpts from E. D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Sequence, and the latest research, it sets forth clear curricula and specific objectives for children from kindergarten through the eighth grade. The book also examines timely issues such as school choice, sex education, character education, and the phonics/whole language debate. Perhaps most important, it encourages parents to become advocates for their children by learning what to look for in a good school, how to talk to educators, and how, when necessary, to push for needed changes. For parents concerned about their children’s current education and future lives, it is the ultimate handbook.”

Lyn Dryburgh

This story was posted on March 21, 2013.

4 Responses to Schools

  1. Former Pagosan

    March 21, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    You lost me at Fox News and William Bennett. But I do agree with the overall message of the letter.

  2. Shane Tuller

    March 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I have a cousin who teaches at the high school. She stated that teachers are no longer allowed to fail students who obviously would have failed, and must automatically give them a passing grade for assignments that are not turned in. Where is the incentive?

    If I do not do a job at work, or even if I simply fail to complete it, I will not get paid nor will my position be guaranteed. When I was in college, if I did not turn in my assignments or pass a test, then I was failed. Which of course I did not do, because I wanted to succeed.

    Without incentive, there can be no achievement.

  3. Fred

    March 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Why don’t you look at who’s in charge. The elementary school has failed with a failed leader.

  4. Fred

    March 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

    A leader that has destroyed the culture, of what at one time was a beautiful school. You deserve a D+ Kate, but does Pagosa?