To the editor:
Stan Roth is widely recognized as one of the best biology teachers in the country and was elected the president of National Association of Biology Teachers and has received many awards as an outstanding biology teacher. He challenges students to develop critical thinking skills not just memorize facts to pass tests. This approach is now a cornerstone of national science education reform.
But to merely state that Stan is a dedicated teacher sells him short. Stan lives for the chance to open the minds of his students, to make them question, appreciate and understand the world around them. At LHS you could find him working in his classroom until ten or later. Students were always welcome in the evening and on weekend field trips to study, ask questions and do projects. His annual student field trip offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many Kansans to learn first-hand about the ecology of Florida and Hawaii.
Just as successful plane landings don't make the news, the school administration seems only to have heard about Stan's rare crashes and clashes. They don't know about students like myself and others that were inspired by Stan to go to graduate school and get doctorates in biology, or by the countless number of other students who actually know something about the world they live in and how organisms interact with the environment -- knowledge and an approach to life that they learned from Stan.
I believe that the actions of the principal and the school board are unjust. Forcing Stan out of teaching is a disservice to him and his family. But the big losers are the kids in Lawrence who will never get to take his class. I urge you in the community to let the administrators know that they have made an error. Stan deserves an apology and offer of reinstatement.
Less than half of the science teachers in the U.S. have a degree in science, Stan has a master's degree in biology and is one of the best of all teachers. Throwing away one of the best makes no sense at all.
Ron S. Nolan,