Opinion: Don't Get Rid of Good Teachers
Salisbury High School Junior Tommy Walters defends the need for good teachers and criticizes a public education system that's running out of money.
In his last State of the Union, President Obama asked Congress to "offer schools a deal." He said that we "should give schools the resources to keep good teachers and reward the best ones." So... where is this deal?
Last week, I attended a Salisbury Township School District school board meeting with the intent to protect the jobs of three of the most inventive educators I know. All of them were my teachers.
You see, I'm currently a junior at Salisbury High School and I've been in the American public school system for 12 years now. I can assure you, these three were the ones the President was looking for. They are the people with the capability to shape the minds of the following generations of thinkers and innovators, and they should be kept, and they should be rewarded.
Within two hours of being told of the layoffs, my peers had created the Salisbury Student Coalition for Change. I am not a lone voice of dissatisfaction at SHS. We are the next generation and we are all concerned for our education.
At the board meeting last Wednesday, the SSCC listed its grievances. We got what we expected, an explanation and an apology, but no change.
During their short time at our school, these teachers have demonstrated that they deserve to be here. Mr. Martrich entered this year a substitute for an absent English teacher. He was required to teach to a curriculum that he hadn't written, and find new ways to foster interest in great American literature. He's done that and more, by using his own studies to expand our frame of reference through discussions on the ideologies of the great thinkers of history.
Mrs. Criscuolo's experience as a professor in college allowed her to shape her course to closely simulate that which we would see in post-secondary education. Her students have more experience in scientific research and writing than most high school graduates.
Mrs. Flagg-Detweiler has taught U.S history, world cultures and psychology, and her AP students have consistently scored well on their end of the year tests. After only three years at the school, she has become a coach on the track team and helped found a local branch of the No Place for Hate organization at Salisbury, as well as serving as the advisor of the 2013 class. Ask anyone: she understands her students.
These teachers should be rising to the top. Nobody in this country seems to have a true answer to problems with the educational system, but one thing that everyone can agree in is that good teaching makes the difference. So when we do find intelligent, driven, and innovative teachers, let's not stifle them with a system that is bogged down with rules to ensure that every one of them be exactly alike.
We're running out of money, we get it. But last week our school board told us that each student is worth $11,000 in state money to the school that wins their attendance, whether it be public schools, charter schools, or cyber schools. On behalf of my fellow students at Salisbury and around the country, I would like to stress that each one of us is worth more than a competition for state funding. We are future academics, athletes, musicians, artists, writers, teachers, and most importantly perhaps, people. I feel there is something inherently wrong with this nation's education community that I even have to say it.