Henry Brown's guest commentary on Feb. 23 strikes a tone with me. It is a particularly deceptive and tragic tone, but one we have become accustomed to here in the Good Life City, where more than half the population lives off the rest who work for a living.
I was drawn to his article; "School visits are an eye opener," because I am particularly interested in that subject. Dr. Henry Brown is a graduate of Albany State University, a student of the language arts, and starts his second paragraph with the words, "I was appalled ..." I was momentarily stunned into thinking here I was finally going to get a perspective of truth, but that moment was instantly shattered as he went on to sing the praises of what I sense was a typical whirlwind whitewash tour of our school system, produced, fabricated, and directed by the front office administration, in conjunction with a few good students.
Henry, you used the correct word, appalled, and certainly your esteemed biography would suggest your consummate command over the power of words, but here, sir, you missed the boat. Synonyms for appalled are horrified, aghast, frightened, sickened, dismayed, etc. Instead, you went on to paint a picture of excellence and invite us to see for ourselves.
I am very familiar with some very good teachers in these schools, who are also appalled with the system. Every day they are assaulted with students that feel free to move about the room during class, talk during lectures, text on phones, make physically threatening gestures and say threatening things when asked to behave. They are subject to frequent outbreaks of fighting in the classroom and hallways.
Sadly, they have no recourse as God and discipline have been removed from the classroom and most homes; the students know it and rub it in their faces. Their only available option for discipline is to call the parents. Their administrative leadership has warned them not to seek aid from the front office, lest they are branded as bad teachers who cannot maintain discipline in the classroom. On top of this, they must put in several hours a day at home to complete their daily tasks for no pay, because eight hours is not enough to do what is demanded of them.
Henry, you did say our teachers need help and that we should volunteer. I agree with you. I have volunteered. I have firsthand experience. You also said you saw no room for improvement. No doubt the show was a stunning success, but by no means appalling.
STEVEN T. TAMBRONI