To the Editor:
I am writing in regard to what is happening with education.
I spent 20 years teaching history until I was needed back on the family farm.
I originally went into teaching because there was an expectation in my family that my brother and I would go to college.
I chose teaching because of my aunt, who was a teacher and it was a highly respected field at that time.
When I first started teaching, I really enjoyed the students. If there was a discipline problem, you could call the parents and they were very supportive.
When I was growing up, it was go to school, work hard and don't get in trouble or you would be in bigger trouble at home.
The last few years I taught were a lot different than when I began teaching and especially as a kid growing up.
The whole view of education by our culture was changing. It seemed that students were entitled to good grades whether they earned them or not and the teacher was always wrong about discipline issues because the attitude of parents is my child would not do that.
That is why I am concerned about the direction the state of Indiana is taking concerning teachers and education in general.
Teachers, when I taught, took a lot of pride in doing a good job and I believe still do.
There are a few that should not be teaching and why they don't fire them, I don't know.
However, teaching is no different than any other profession.
Recently, due to an accident, I ended up in the hospital emergency room with a witch for a nurse. She was the most uncompassionate person I ever met and it turned out, she was the supervising nurse of that shift.
The problem in education is not the teachers or schools, it is the politicians that lack the understanding of schools and all the problems associated with teaching. Teachers aren't there just to teach. They have to deal with all the baggage that students bring to school, such as being homeless, parents that are in jail due to drug use, parents that have simply dumped them off at grandparents because the parents no longer want to be parents, students that have learning disabilities, and the list goes on.
Yet, all these students are supposed to learn and reach a certain ability level in certain subjects.
God made each and every one of us different. Some students will achieve more because they have more ability and motivation.
Like I earlier said, I farm. I would not want the expectations placed on me that all the ground I farm is going to produce 200 bushels of corn to the acre.
First of all, it would not matter how much time, effort or money I spent. Some of my ground is poor ground and the best it might do is 150 bushels. Then throw in the weather and other factors. It might not even do that well.
A few of the acres I have are in the river bottoms are very fertile and if there is no flooding, and if weather conditions are right, I can probably get 270 bushels to the acre.
If government wants to improve education, they need to let the teachers and principals who are the experts do their jobs because they understand their students best. Just like I understand my ground best.
The way I view it, the biggest problem with education is politicians, past and present, meddling.
A few years ago, the federal law passed, "No Child Left Behind." This has been around four or five years and not helped much. I would urge others to write or contact state and federal representatives and tell them to stay out of education.
As a former history teacher, we need to look at past history and learn from it. When government gets involved, they try to please everyone and it does not work.
What made this country great was simply the attitude that if you work hard, you will get ahead.
That has been lost and can't be legislated.