I've been reading with great interest the various education articles that have been printed the last week or so. As a "former" educator in the Rim country, I have the ability to state my opinions without having to worry about being placed on administrative leave.
I find it interesting how programs like zero-tolerance and identification badges can work well in other districts, yet in Payson they become topics of controversy. One of my issues back when I was teaching was that we coddled parents and kids too much. When things like ID badges become a controversy, I begin to think that I was right.
President Bush's attempt at education reformitled No Child Left Behind has two flaws. First is the timing of the mandate. The time to mandate additional hoops for schools to jump through is not when state budgets are being slashed due to the present downturn in the economy.
The NCLB rules are in no way based in the reality that school districts face daily.
Ray Primary School in Kearny, Ariz. for example,as recently labeled as "under-performing." But how could that be, their test scores were all at the state average or better. Ray was labeled as under-performing because in their third grade, only 93 percentf students took the test rather than the mandated 95 percent. What that means is, during test week there were three kids absent when the maximum permitted was two. God forbid that the chicken pox be going through a school during testing week.
In addition, NCLB mandates districts hire "highly qualified" teachers. It does and says nothing about how to keep highly qualified teachers.
I guarantee placing highly qualified teachers on administrative leave when they express an opinion will not help to keep them. Nor will a pay and benefits level among the worst of professional occupations.
In Bob Edwards' letter to the editor, he sought solutions. Let me offer some. First, baseistrict educationn best practices, not on whining parents or on politicians looking to leave a legacy. In other words, school districts need to have a backbone.
Secondly, privatize school systems. I find it interesting that adults will gladly hand over $40 a month for their cable television and cell phones or $400 a month for their over-priced, gas-guzzling, disposable SUV, but when their kid comes home needing $5 for a school field trip their parents come unglued. People will give money to private enterprise that they will not give to the government.
The job of public education is to educate, not self-perpetuation nor to maintain the esteem of big fish in little ponds.
Chris Kline, Superior