I support the teachers, but...

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I read with interest the letter "My Turn: Invest in teachers, not buildings" by Sara Hannan and though I do agree with smaller classrooms, year-round school, and more teachers, I must say I do not support the typical "teacher" attitude of "giveeverything to us." The idea that a $5,000 budget item for a new furnace should be redirected into teacher raises or benefits, the idea that the school exists for the teachers is misdirected.

From a parent's point of view, let's hire more qualified teachers and get smaller classrooms; let's make the school year 12 months and not waste the last month and first month of the school year as we do now getting ready for summer and then again getting ready for school.

While we're at, it let's ensure that the teachers are performing their jobs and not just spending time at school. Let's make their tenure and raises be based on performance. True there are some responsibilities held by the students and parents, but using them as scapegoats for sending graduates that cannot write a check or balance a checkbook, not to mention the regular sixth-grade level of education that so routinely gets graduated from high school. Let's make the teachers work with an entire classroom, not just the motivated high achievers who actually teach themselves. Let's make the teachers earn their pay instead of continually caving in to their union's demand, and attitude, that all of the school budget is for teachers pay and raises.

In a regular job if you can't or won't produce a quality product then you certainly don't get raises. So I am simply saying that we should require teachers toearn raises by testing their education level, certifications, as well as their knowledge of the subject being taught, performance measures based on quality of the product (student) they produce, and even required drug and alcohol tests as part of their employment.

They are they first to point fingers and make excuses as to why they can't "produce," but let the student population fall, or the budget become smaller, or even a need to put money into the building or benefits etc. for non-teaching staff and they strike, sue or otherwise force the district to redirect their energy to themselves and their personal agendas.

It is time that teachers teach and be required to face the same issues and requirements that others must including their students. I am pro-teachers, just not pro-teachers who want a free ride. It is true there are many great teachers, but the "bad apples" are becoming more numerous, more protected and more demanding. The teaching profession is going the way of lawyers, doctors and so many other professions. Me, me, me.

Teachers are there for the students, not the other way around.

Teachers are there to teach and mold young minds. Not to have a shorter work year, higher pay that the average of the community, or to insert their political or personal beliefs into the classroom and taint the student.

I say "support the teacher," butrequire the teacher be worthy of the support.

Bruce Hale

Haines



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