Long-time friend John Florez erupts at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City from time to time. Back on April 2, when the Utah legislature was still wrestling with vouchers, a budget surplus and a vastly underfunded education system, Florez had some gentle advice to policymakers everywhere: “Policy makers must heed teachers’ views.”
Politicians ought to listen to what the teachers think is needed to improve education. For starters, they want smaller class sizes and an environment that gives them the opportunity to do the most important thing: challenge and motivate students to learn. One wrote that after 30 years of teaching he has “…discouraged … nieces and nephews from taking up the career. What a shame when there is so much possible with all these young minds.” Another wrote that her school had a student teacher quit halfway through, frustrated because the students wouldn’t work; phoning parents resulted in getting an earful, and the principal made little effort to back her up.
The following year, the school had an opening so they phoned her “…to see if she wouldn’t try again at our school.” The reply: “Thank you, if I ever came back it would be there, but never. I have a job now with great opportunities to grow and a great working environment.”
But, John — would better working conditions really help pass the standardized tests?
Some principals and administrators of which I am aware haven’t found the sign yet, but would put it up if they had it:
The daily floggings of staff will continue until morale improves!
They wouldn’t mean it as the joke it was originally intended; or even if they did, the staff would know differently.