A recent article (and accompanying pie chart) by Dr. Greg Forster, "The Blob That Ate the Schools," caught the attention of a first-grade teacher in the Burns Flat-Dill City school district in western Oklahoma. She sent along her thoughts on the matter, which are published below (unedited) in their entirety.
This is in reference to Greg Forster’s article “The Blob That Ate the Schools”. Being a teacher in Oklahoma, I take offense to this article. Have you ever taught a day in our public school system. Not only do you expect us to teach our children, which I gladly and proudly do well, but you expect us to do so with out the assistance or limited assistance of janitorial staff, nurses, aides, bus drives and cooks. So we are to teach successfully as well as clean the toilets, cook their meals, take their temperature and drive buses (which we do anyway). We are to contract out to professionals to provide meal service. We are to do this in a rural town where we have one restaurant and two quick stops and the nearest town of decent size is twenty miles away. Please do not assume that we have a small enrollment because of what I have listed, in our grade school we have nearly 700 students, many classes with twenty five to thirty kids, so please do not offer up any comments on consolidation, we are consolidated. This would also take employment from our community and give it to a bigger community. The one thing I do agree on is we are definitely taking on the role of the parent. This is something I think our government has had a direct impact on make happen. Make the parents accountable to make sure their children are in school, and have been taught morals and values, are clean, do their homework, etc. Make them accountable when they fail in these areas and then their children don’t make the test scores. Another topic of high debate is extending the school day, this is not the solution, it just gives me the opportunity to be their parents. I am a parent and my children deserve me at home at a decent time. I have to be at school by 7:30, usually my school children have been dropped off before I arrive. I do not leave until five or six in the evening completing lesson plans, grading papers, tutoring and making parent contacts. As far as money going to private and charter school, I have no problem with this as long as you hold them to the same criteria public school has to abide by, you may not be selective as to whom you wish to attend your school. You can not simply cast out the bad apples and keep the good ones. My opinion, do not broadcast your opinion unless you have been in the classroom recently. I wonder if Mr. Forster has someone that cleans his office and bathroom or if he does that himself?
1st Grade Teacher, Oklahoma
UPDATE: As it happens, Mr. Forster does indeed clean his own bathroom.