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Joe21 04-21-2009 07:25 PM

Some Thoughts About Our Schools
Certain topics have become "sacred" in the sense that to question actions of leaders in a particular field makes one an "anti" to that field. Take Education, for example. To question those leaders in the educational field brings down a world of wrath on those who dare to raise questions even though the questioners may be some of the staunchest supporters of our educational endeavors.

Our teachers are saddled with mandated programs that detract from their primary function of teaching. The fear of litigation in our courts, should the teacher attempt to instill a reasonable sense of discipline, penalizes every student in the classroom. The vast majority of our teachers are dedicated educators, committed to doing the best job they can, often times under conditions that do not lend themselves to fulfilling their duties to the best of their abilities.

Perhaps the most "sacred" topic of school administrators is MONEY. If requested funds are not available, the battle cry is always the same, "the students wiil suffer".When financial resources are limited, those who control the purse strings are usually the scapegoats as well as those who agree with these decisions. In times of financial stress, it's time to look inward and eliminate the dead wood. The headquarters offices of many of our school district are the epitome of "plush", utilizing funds that could have easily been invested where it was intended, the education of our children. Our schools can survive without a bloated administrative sfaff but they cannot survive when there are no teacherrs in the classroom.

I am in total agreement with those who support school facilities that provide an environment conducive to the learning process. However, I do object to facilities that border on the realm of opulence. I have seen school buildings that have evoked "oohs" and "aahs" from students, parents and school administrators. Unfortunately, the performance of the students did not evoke the same response. I have, as yet, to see a report that indicates a student's learning curve improves when they move into a new upgraded facility.

School construction costs could be reduced considerably if our state adopted a basic standardized plan for our schools. For example, a basic plan for elementary, middle and high schools should serve every school district in the state. The basic design could be geared to the recommended minimum number of students and then in increments for schools with larger enrollments. Future expansions based on projected population growth patterns could also be considered in the basic plan. Initial infrastructure items could be in place during the initial phase of construction in anticipation of future expansions.

When a family's financial resources are limited, survival dictates elimination of the unnecessary and emphasis on the essentials. Our schools, as well as our local, state and federal governments, should follow the same principle.

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