Teachers aren’t reason why schools are failing
Rod Watson recently wrote a column with the usual “blame the teachers” attitude as the reason for our failing schools. He asked how we could have most teachers rated as competent or exemplary when most schools are considered failing. Here’s a thought: because the teachers are not the reason for our failing schools! So often ignorant people look for a simplistic answer to a complex problem and this is a very good example.
Small class size, full-time teacher aides in every elementary classroom, support personnel to work with students such as English as a Second Language teachers, school counselors, social workers and attendance teachers are what is needed. Team planning time for teachers is what is needed. But guess what, folks? That takes money! And the bean counters who are in charge do not want to spend money on these things.
As long as those in charge at the state and local level continue to ignore what is really needed to help our schools, and instead expend time and energy on trying to “get” incompetent teachers, our schools will continue to fail. I am not saying that there are no incompetent teachers; of course there are. There are incompetent people in any job – whether electrician, nurse, doctor, manager or a CEO. But they are a very small percentage in any career. All Buffalo teachers went to the same colleges and had the same training as those teaching in our “successful” suburban districts. Buffalo teachers want to teach in Buffalo. They love their kids and want the best for them. If they didn’t, they would find a way to teach elsewhere or leave teaching completely. So please let our teachers teach and give them the support they need and deserve.
Jo Ann T. Meyer
Retired Buffalo school counselor