Disappointed with Monitor's rhetoric

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

I was disappointed to read “School days for instruction – not for in-service” on Jan. 25.  You state that we are falling behind internationally in “the production of an educated, literate society” and go on to say that we need to “hold teachers accountable for their work and keep (kids) in the classroom more” in reference to a bill to eliminate teacher in-service days from the current school calendar.  I agree on improving our children’s education, and I bet many teachers would happily give up in-service days to teach.  However, I don’t agree with the insinuations that teachers are responsible for our current state of education, or that they get paid enough and need to work more days.  I was particularly upset with the statements that “parents are constantly complaining” that “they have to continually juggle schedules because of these in-service days.”  Instead of criticizing teachers, support them and volunteer in a classroom; or ask a teacher what else you might do to help your child.  The current calendar allows for approximately five (two midyear) in-service days out of 181 school days for teacher education or class preparation. I guarantee that most spend many more (unpaid) days on their own in preparation.  There are also approximately 10 class instruction days lost to tests mandated by the state (typical in elementary schools), plus miscellaneous other short tests, and overhead activities teachers must cover – instruction time lost by trying to be “accountable” to us for their jobs.  We don’t ask most of this because we are trying to figure out how to help, but rather want someone to blame other than ourselves.We are most certainly lucky to have an exceptional school staff in this county, but I would also suggest that Los Alamos has a successful school system because of the parents that respect education and support teachers.  The Monitor should be ashamed of continuing the rhetoric of “hold teachers responsible,” especially in the context of parents whining about their real concern – daycare.  Bottom line: It’s not the teachers and it’s not the kids – it’s you. If you want your kids to do better in school, and score well on tests, then suck it up and get your own act together.  Stop watching TV, read a book – or better yet, read one to your kid.Pete PittmanLos Alamos