Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You Know My Answer to This One...

Last week, I mentioned the budget crisis in the Dallas Independent School District. Today, there was a great letter to the editor in the DMN, from a reader named Aimee Ventura, which included the following:
I wonder if Michael Hinojosa remembers when he used to be a teacher in the Dallas ISD: Does he remember being underpaid, not appreciated and overworked? Does he remember having to spend his own money on supplies? Does he remember having to spend his own money on field trips so a student wouldn't be left out? Does he remember that some days he would have air conditioning or heat in his room and other days he wouldn't?
And in light of the fact that many teachers are probably going to get let go because of the DISD's budget mess, Ventura invites Hinojosa to think back and remember his own teaching days.

Yeah, you know where this is going; I've said it many times: There's no reason that Hinojosa, or any of his administrator peers, should have to sit back and remember their teaching days, because they never should have stopped teaching in the first place. Wouldn't a district that's obviously failing--and could stand to trim a bunch of administrative fat instead of letting go of a lot of teachers--be the perfect place to try this idea?

(And yes, I know that some people might think the very opposite--that the ex-teachers screwed this up so badly that people from the financial world should be brought in to run things in their stead. But first of all, I have no problem with such experts being in charge of district finances--but I bet some of them could be extremely good economics teachers as well. And second, look at this week's headlines; it's not like the financial "geniuses" of the business world have done all that well themselves.)

As I said last time, not one teacher should be let go before every superfluous administrator is jettisoned first. I realize that some of these people are in place because of government requirements, and getting rid of them would also mean that we had to make major changes in the government; trust me, I'm in favor of that as well. But still, I think that the DISD has been presented a great opportunity to let the teachers run the show, or at least to let those running the show remain teachers. It certainly can't be any worse than the situation the district is facing now...

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