Noted in passing, the headline read: School board OK's early dismissals each Wednesday. Wow a shortened day for all the McCook public school kids every week.
I'll bet the kids will like that! The teachers probably would like it, too, except they will be kept in the penalty box for the extra two hours each week. I'm also sure that this taxpayer is not convinced that the truncated school day each week is a good idea, either.
The "new" program was further explained by the School Superintendent.
"I've given them a lot of work," Norgaard admitted about teachers using the Professional Learning Communities mode of teaching, where teachers are in communication with each other about student performance. Teachers won't just be grading papers, he reiterated."
The board, in typical hobbit fashion, evidently stepped right up, said "aye," and signed the blank check.
Yes, sir, increase the paperwork, reams and reams of it, the answer to everything in ever expanding bureaucratic organizations. It is a good thing, because next will come a cry for more administrators to handle the new blizzard of paper -- the circle has no end.
To be qualified to be an administrator one has to have first been a teacher and administrators, of course receive more salary than mere teachers who have daily contact with students in the classrooms. Teachers that don't teach are kind of like drones in a colony of bees, a few are necessary maybe but expensive to keep.
I think that we should blame it on President George W. Bush and his "No Child Left Behind" initiative. The goal was to improve the performance in educating the youth of our nation. In exchange for a shower of Federal money filtering down, to even local schools, standards were set. Schools had to conduct annual standardized testing to prove that the students were "gittin' it."
If the school didn't meet the standards the money was supposed to be cut off. Oh the howls of indignation that followed! Teachers had to "teach the test" and a hundred other excuses were brought forth in protest. Sadly the money continues standards met or not and still public school educational performance nationwide continues to decline.
Obviously I came from another era, one where students went to school to learn and teachers spent considerably less time on needless paperwork. Kids that attended country schools, and I'm proud and fortunate that was my experience, had to pass a standardized 8th grade exam before being allowed to matriculate at the local high school.
Did the country school teachers teach the test? Sure they probably did but along the way we students learned math, how to read and write English, geography, history, music, and even civics. We understood how our local, state and federal governments were structured and how they were supposed to function. What am I missing? Oh, yes, we recited the pledge of allegiance to our country's flag every morning and weren't afraid to allow God into our school lives.
Our country school teachers were also the janitors and did everything else to keep the building warm and comfortable. They also oversaw the lunchroom and supervised playground activities. They weren't specialists as they taught students in all the grade levels yet had time for each of us. They also stayed, unsupervised, after the students were dismissed to grade papers and prepare lesson plans.
The local school boards paid attention; many of them had children in that school, and were unhampered in making informed decisions for the good of the students. They were not burdened with politically correct feel-good dictates foisted on them by state and federal bureaucrats. It was education for "their" kids that was important; education quality that was in part measured by how well the graduating 8th graders did on their standardized exams. Unions were non-players.
Modern school boards now have little power. They have to work within the dictates of many layers of overlying bureaucracy, plus a strong teacher's union and therefore in actuality have very little say in how well the school performs.
In my opinion, the kids who came up in country schools were academically well-prepared to take on the challenge of high school. It seemed the portion of country kids in the top 10 of the graduating classes was disproportionately higher than the students that came from other venues. In my own case I was well prepared directly out of high school to meet the demanding academic standards of the Air Force Academy.
This is not a screed against teachers in any way. The ones that I personally know are good Christian people that obviously care for their students.
Special ones like Pam Wolford are superb. I can imagine that it must be a frustration for them to be taken from the classroom for feel good paperwork generating exercises that are in vogue for education today.
Let them teach!
Incidentally, were I a public school teacher, I would refuse to pay any union dues! This is a right-to-work state and dues are voluntary! Let them teach.
This area is blessed to have our local McCook College. I do wonder why more local graduating high school seniors from this area are reluctant to enroll here, close to home.
Yes, I understand the yearning of youth to flee the nest and go farther away to a "big" school. Yet, all too often I hear the comment that credits don't transfer and am aware that in the recent past a great effort was made to correct that problem. I also wonder why more of the good athletes from all over Southwestern Nebraska aren't recruited for this college's athletic teams.
It appears that few of the local athletes are included on our college teams, so evidently all too many of the good ones go elsewhere. More local kids, high school stars from their home towns, would only attract their loyal fans. Everybody wins.
That is how I saw it.