Letter to the Editor: Backwash Under Fire!

1backtoschoolteacher-graphicsfairy008bwFrom the Corvallis and Lebanon School Districts Superintendents

We applaud your recent cover story featuring Winston Cornwall and his work at OSU to educate students about discrimination and equity issues. At the Corvallis and Lebanon school districts, we are in the midst of that work and challenging ourselves to examine these types of barriers that impact students. This work is forcing us to challenge the status quo, much like the stance often taken in your publication.

Unfortunately, the good work of your paper is undermined by the negative and sarcastic columns written by Johnny Beaver in the “Linn-Benton Backwash” and “As the State Turns” columns. Why would your publication choose to contemptuously write about students and student athletes in our communities? As educators, our role is to support and strengthen the youngest in our community by providing an environment that is safe and welcoming for everyone. Your publication pokes a sharp stick at our kids in a manner that is mean-spirited. The Corvallis Advocate can and should do better. A couple of low points include the Sept. 16 news brief referring to a “bitter, crushing, soul-destroying defeat” of the CHS football team and a reference to the undefeated Lebanon team as “idiots.” Even more disappointing was the disrespectful item referring to the Lebanon High School AVID students sharing their stories with middle school students. This program is aimed to help students who are typically underrepresented in college (low income, first in their family to college, students of color) and is a program to be celebrated, not denigrated. This type of writing is insultingly sophomoric and is most definitely not “aimed for the highest good of the community” as is proclaimed on your “About Us” page on your website.

In the Corvallis and Lebanon school districts and in our surrounding communities, we are working hard to help young people navigate the challenges of adolescence in the 21st century. Our regional school districts work closely together; a poor reflection of one equates to a poor reflection of all. We look forward to seeing coverage of Corvallis and Lebanon students that lifts them up rather than knocks them down.


Erin Prince, Ph.D.


Corvallis School District


Rob Hess, D.Ed.


Lebanon Community School District