Wednesday, March 19, 2014
To the editor:
Regarding Phil Noble’s article “Suggestions for education candidates,” I suspect my high school English teacher would have returned the essay marked C+. She would have berated him for the obvious spelling errors: it’s “learn,” not “lean” and “learning,” not “leaning.” These words were misspelled twice. Spell Check cannot read your mind.
Secondly, she would have chastised him for not fully developing his thesis. He does mention “Radical freedom” as a bullet point and is in favor of exempting some teachers from the normal rules and regulations. Bully for him – most teachers would tell you the paperwork is overly burdensome. It also raises the question: why do teachers have all of these rules and regulations in the first place? Are they teachers or glorified babysitters and pencil pushers?
Finally, he does not address the issue of discipline. Teachers are surrogate parents. They have more daily interaction with a child than do the parents with one critical exception – they have no power of discipline. There was a recent Teacher Workday devoted to the legal issues associated with teaching. Are we to the point where we need to assign a lawyer to each classroom?
I applaud many of Mr. Noble’s suggestions. Most would have a positive effect on our educational system. However, I believe the root cause of our poor educational ranking can be summed in three words: politics, parents and apathy. The politicians say what it takes to get elected; the parents expect the schools to do the parents’ job, and the rest of the public just doesn’t care. I suspect the schools in Finland and other countries with better educational systems require more parental and political support than we do in the United States.
Will more money solve the problem? I think not. The much-heralded Penny Sales Tax did next to nothing to improve the system. The Lottery money has not had much effect. Maybe we need a better accounting of the ways our educational funds are utilized. How much of this money trickles down to the teachers anyway?
The world has changed; society has changed. Changes are needed for the education of our children. I think the quote in Barbara Hill’s column in the same issue is timely: “When you can’t change the wind, adjust your sails.”