After reading in today's Herald the "expose" of the local school system, I must say I am not at all surprised. It seems to me it has been a long time coming and despite 2009 as being the year bearing investigation and scrutiny, it has been going on far longer.
With two of our five sons being diagnosed as dyslexic, we recognized these failings in the system back in the '70s. One son, an excellent football player, managed to make it to the 12th grade before dropping out! He attended special education classes from kindergarten on. Despite appointments and frequent involvement in evaluations where we were assured acceptable progress was being made, he was advanced at each grade level. Upon his passing away of cancer, however, at age 37, he could neither read nor write!
I blame myself for not being more demanding and forceful because, as we later learned, he was extremely bright, resourceful and capable of success.
The demands placed on educators are no different then those placed on sales personnel who are threatened by the loss of their job should they fail to meet pre-determined sales quotas. If customers choose to stay away due to shoddy goods or high prices, how can these people meet those goals?
The comparison points to unrealistic expectations and, in truth, is no different than the "No Child Left Behind" fiasco implemented by the previous administration.
Sales people, driven by these expectations, become aggressive, competitive and insistant in order to keep their jobs. Teachers alter grades, change answers and otherwise cover up to keep theirs, which in no way justifies their actions.
It may appear an almost too simplistic solution, but perhaps it is time to help people love the jobs they do by easing off on demands and pressure. Help folks to be happy in their jobs by not forcing them to be competitive, defensive and always on edge.
I had a wonderful teacher once tell me, "It really does not matter what you do, what matters is that you enjoy what you do!"
MARTY HELDENBERG, Parrott