Mary Moe

Mary Moe


Educators should set the standards for teachers and leave politics to the politicians

By: - November 14, 2022

It was a heady milestone when the Montana legislature established the Certification Standards and Practices Advisory Council (CSPAC) in 1987. Finally! The teaching profession would have a seat at the government tables that shape it. If proposals to change teacher licensing were advanced, practicing educators on CSPAC would be consulted. If colleges preparing teachers contemplated […]


The dark dawn of a new day: The dismantling of our public schools by design

By: - September 7, 2022

Call it kismet. I’d just finished reading about Montana superintendents’ frantic efforts to hire public schoolteachers before the school year begins when an op-ed from another newspaper appeared on my screen. In it, two Republican legislators rejoiced over the “new dawn” their recent legislation created, the “opportunity” for Montana kids to leave public schools and […]


Land of the free?

By: - July 8, 2022

“What, to a slave, is the Fourth of July?” abolitionist Frederick Douglass famously asked 170 years ago. It’s a question that begs revisiting this year. Sure, we’re celebrating the day when 56 men declared that all men were created equal. But let’s be frank. “Men” really meant men and “all” didn’t really mean all. “All […]


Arntzen’s dangerously hard-to-follow logic

By: - June 12, 2022

Sheesh. When it comes to the current hullaballoo over minimum school standards, our Superintendent of Public Instruction is impossible to follow. Before I count the ways, a little background on school accreditation: Montana’s Constitution assigns the control of public schools to local school boards. In order to ensure the quality and equality of opportunity the […]


The Emily enigma: Let a 19-year-old have another year, or save taxpayers’ funds

By: - April 5, 2022

“There are more things in heaven and earth,” Hamlet told his science-minded friend Horatio, “than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Someone should tell the community of Billings the same thing about changing School Board Policy 2050. Policy 2050 establishes a clear line: Students who turn 19 before September 10 of the coming school year […]


The equity con game being sold by Montana’s leaders

By: - March 6, 2022

Many years ago I taught high school English. The curriculum was heavy on literature, ranging from “Beowulf”  to “Black Elk Speaks” and capped every year with a Shakespearean tragedy. And every year, another tragedy unfolded: Kids with poor reading skills washed out. We didn’t have reading specialists who could help them. We didn’t have math […]


Anger has spread across Montana like a disease

By: - January 5, 2022

At a city commission meeting, a citizen approached the podium. In remarks dripping with vitriol and peppered with profanity, he impugned the characters of two city staff members, disparaged the lengthy service of one city commissioner, and bemoaned the fate of his fellow citizens, whom he dismissed as “dumb bastards” getting taken by “The Man.” […]


The proud and mournful duty of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice

By: - November 11, 2021

Some 76 ½ years ago, my grandmother followed the news accounts of the Battle of Iwo Jima warily. She knew from the newspapers that the first day of the invasion alone ended in 2,312 casualties, a figure that made even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gasp. She knew, too, that Mount Surabachi had been captured on […]


Standing with Alan Turing and Emma Malonelord

By: - June 8, 2021

If you were to credit a single individual with defeating Hitler, it wouldn’t be a statesman or a general. It would be a British mathematician – Alan Turing. Turing figured out how to beat Enigma, the machine that used more than 150 trillion possibilities to change German military codes every eight hours. Turing’s breakthrough gave […]


Death by numbers: The forgotten (young) faces of COVID

By: - March 30, 2021

It’s hard to say when we became numb to the numbers. It’s the nature of numbers to obscure names and faces, to obliterate the story of one lost life with six digits representing hundreds of thousands of others. But then someone sends along an obituary of someone you knew. Or you drift off to sleep […]


COVID has created a learning chasm that may rob our children of future potential

By: - March 3, 2021

As Montana legislators consider school funding for the next biennium, they’ve been hearing plenty about enrollment gaps caused by the pandemic. Because Montana’s school funding formula is heavily enrollment-based, school districts are concerned that dramatic declines in enrollment will result in short-term and long-term funding gaps. Those concerns are legitimate. As an example, without legislative […]