Teach­ers weighed down by bu­reau­cracy

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion -

“To many teach­ers, ca­reer has failed” (Page 1, Tues­day) is a timely and well­writ­ten ar­ti­cle about a topic that should be re­vis­ited ev­ery year for decades to come. The writer quotes valid sta­tis­tics and ar­gu­ments, but he fails to re­ally get to the prob­lems that have the most im­pact on teach­ers. Den­nis Van Roekel of the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion quotes the same old facts; some are valid, while oth­ers are just po­lit­i­cal pab­u­lum.

Young teach­ers are in­structed to do ev­ery­thing but what they are hired to do. They are pro­grammed to think that they have to jus­tify them­selves ev­ery day to a group of kids. More than a few times, young teach­ers have con­fided in me the stress they en­dure ev­ery morn­ing when fac­ing a class. In­stead of teach­ing a valid sub­ject with fo­cused pa­ram­e­ters, they are asked to be bu­reau­cratic pa­per-push­ers for one ridicu­lous po­lit­i­cal pro­gram or the other. In­stead of teach­ing, they are man­dated to grad­u­ate stu­dents they know have no work­able skills.

In­stead of deal­ing one-on-one with stu­dents’ par­ents in an ef­fort to see chil­dren progress, they are forced to deal with spe­cial-in­ter­est groups that are more in­ter­ested in baby-sit­ting than teach­ing. Ed­u­ca­tors also are forced daily to con­front dan­ger­ous and vi­o­lent stu­dents with­out the au­thor­ity to run their own classes. They are forced to present a dumbed-down cur­ricu­lum that makes the men­tion of Ad­vanced Place­ment and/or Honors pro­grams laugh­able. Fi­nally, classes are peo­pled with stu­dents who have no busi­ness be­ing in this coun­try, much less in the school sys­tem.

The U.S. ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem must adopt a pol­icy of hir­ing the best if it wishes to match the dig­nity and re­spect shown to teach­ers else­where. Let our teach­ers teach, and our stu­dents will learn. The No Child Left Be­hind boon­dog­gle was a nice idea and made for a catchy phrase. How­ever, I can as­sure you that there are kids who want to be left be­hind. WIL­SON FARIS Gaithers­burg

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