Editorial: Show the students they matter
April 23, 2009
One part of the ongoing community discussion about how the school district will be cutting nearly $4 million from its budget needs to be immediately eliminated ” the vitriol between the parties.
While we do not expect the teacher’s association to ever fully accept the idea that dozens of teachers could lose jobs, they must accept the reasons: A drop in property taxes and government funding. It is the same ugly reality driving economies across the world ” we can’t afford to be the same as we used to be.
The administration, in turn, needs to gain the confidence to sit down with the teachers association much earlier in the process. More than once, we’ve heard both sides tell us, “I wish we trusted each other enough just to sit down and work all this out.” That is not impossible, but many are making it that way by carrying old grudges into new situations.
In the past few weeks, comments on our website, blogs from teachers association leaders and snide quotes from elected officials have sent the wrong message to the students everyone says they are working so hard to protect. The fact that teachers, administrators and parents can not work together adds stress to a student’s life, when they need to be focusing on classwork and college applications.
Each time the district negotiates ” for teacher salaries or budget cuts ” it seems to drive a larger wedge between the very people we need working side-by-side. This reflects poorly on our entire community. And again, it sets students up to fail.
Whether we like it or not, our small towns need each other, especially when we share the same tough realities. We know we will lose some teacher, administration and staff positions. We all want kids who are ready to succeed in an ever-changing world. Once we get through this, we must expect to have a district that operates on much sturdier financial footing, and the best teachers association the district can afford. Both must be held equally accountable.
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Now is not the time for division. It is the time for teamwork. No matter what group you belong to, we ask everyone to stop before you accuse an administrator, teacher, school board member or bus driver of not having the student’s best interests at heart. That, in itself, is a lie.
All the negativity and spitefulness within the district is sending a message to our students that nobody can be trusted. We know we can do better. We know we must.
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