To the Editor:
I read a letter published in The Brazil Times concerning our schools.
If (the writer) is correct about not having a parent-teacher conference as stated in the letter, I agree that the teacher should meet with every parent to discuss the child's progress.
I disagree that teaching is only the teacher's job and not the parent's responsibility, too. The teacher can always quit, but the parent that neglects the responsibility is going to doom the child to being less than the child could have been. I, too, have been out of school for decades, but that does not mean that I do not devote some of my time helping children learn even if I have to re-learn the subject or find someone else to help the child.
Don't blame the teacher for their working conditions as that is decided by others. Our elementary classrooms have a student-to-teacher ratio well above the 17-to-1 cited for the school corporation.
No one in power wants to face the issue of re-districting to balance classrooms, consolidation to reduce operating expense so we can afford to hire more teachers, or to do the research that allows us to build the most classrooms for the money we invest.
That is proven by the current elementary building project, where we are spending three-fourths of the amount needed to build a new elementary school that would have had more classrooms than the 52-year-old building it would have replaced is going to end up having. It is proven again with the recommendations that are coming out of the school corporation concerning the transportation facility instead of a recommendation to put a new transportation facility, a new administrative office, a new combined maintenance facility on one piece of ground to save money on employee movement and fuel costs. Every dollar saved could be invested in classroom teaching instead of fuel and employee time moving from one of these buildings to the other. Then there are those who wish to invest in a new gymnasium and even a pool at Northview to impress people as to what we have instead of concentrating on getting the students educated so they can get a job.
Pure poppycock, but don't blame the teachers. Talk to them as I have and you will find that you hear a litany of not enough time to teach children unprepared for school from the elementary teachers and students unprepared for grade level coming from our middle school and high school teachers.
We don't hold children back anymore, we send them on unprepared. It is said that it hurts their self-esteem. I reckon it does. No one wanted to fail when I was in school either, but one must ask a question. Is it worse to hurt a person's esteem while they are in school or to set them up for failure after they leave the building and are not educated to the point where they can earn a decent living?
Leo L. Southworth,