Archive for Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday Column: New challenges put even more focus on teachers

May 21, 2016

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Several weeks ago, this writer participated in a panel discussion at the 100th birthday celebration of Cordley School. Panelists were asked to reminisce about their years at the elementary school, recalling significant events, teachers who made lasting impressions, student-parent-teacher activities and other memories.

There isn’t any way to determine whether those of us who attended Cordley in past years were exposed to a better or poorer educational experience than today’s students, but it is clear Lawrence was smaller, there was a greater sense of community, and the elementary school “family” — students, teachers, parents and siblings — probably was more united, knew more about one another and focused more attention on school and school-related activities than is the case today. School, K-12, was the central focus and tied the community together. There was no television, Facebook or any of the modern communication devices that now command so much of an individual’s time and attention.

The one constant between grade schools of past years and the present is the critical role of teachers.

The old saying “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree” is just as relevant today as it was years ago, and it is clear, at least to this writer, that elementary school teachers serve as the first important front line in instilling values, discipline and the joy and excitement of learning in their students.

This being the case, is sufficient attention being given to the critical role teachers play in our society?

This question could and should be asked in all communities, of all sizes, but it is likely to be even more relevant in towns like Lawrence, Manhattan and other university towns, where more attention may be given to higher education faculty than to teachers in elementary, middle or high school classrooms.

It is wrong to suggest any specific level of teaching is more important or carries a higher priority than another, but it is important that the public (taxpayers) realize the importance of maintaining compensation levels sufficient to attract, and hold, talented and committed teachers.

The importance of elementary school teachers may be even greater today because of the environment in which they operate. For example, it is likely the vast majority of elementary students years ago returned to two-parent homes than is the case today. Today there are more single-parent homes and more families in which both parents work outside the home.

In some cases, parents today may not have as much time to spend with their children, providing guidance and counseling. In such situations, teachers play an even more important role in establishing learning and work habits along with social skills, manners and good citizenship.

The current Cordley building is much larger than the original Cordley, but it is hoped the quality of teachers and the commitment of the teachers is just as intense or better today than it was years ago. There’s no question that the demands of today’s environment present added challenges for the teachers.

This being the case, it is more important than ever that the “twig’ is bent in the proper way by today’s elementary school teachers. Good salaries are one way to ensure students will have good teachers.

Comments

Bob Forer 1 year, 6 months ago

:'The one constant between grade schools of past years and the present is the critical role of teachers.'

If you truly believe in that, Dolph, then why have you consistently supported and endorsed candidates who have tried to break the teacher's union and gut funding for public education.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 6 months ago

What? You support a governor who is trying to tear apart public education, then you think teachers should make more money? He cut education. If teachers are to make more money, then LLC's will have to start paying taxes again. You can't get something for nothing. And Brownback wants to go to private schools. You know, that conservative's belief that you should only get as much education as you can afford? Private school teachers do not get paid very much. Of course, they don't have to work as hard as public education teachers. And they also don't have to be licensed or even educated in pedagogy.

You can't have something for nothing. I thought conservatives knew that? I thought that was their mantra? Yet they don't want to pay taxes, but want good roads and good teachers? They want prison guards who are paid enough not to be bribed by the criminals. They want to build walls on our borders. They want to throw doctors and women in prison over abortions. They want more police protection for all the crazies they allow to have guns. But don't ask them to pay for anything. Who are the takers?

Greg Cooper 1 year, 6 months ago

As Dorothy says above, Dolph, I am confused as to your real ideology here. Cutting state income, as you so adamantly championed, does not lead to more teacher-available dollars, but restricts them. How do you stand for more money for teachers and less for schools?

I laud your thoughts, but am not sure I can believe what you now say. Are you doing this so your favorite Regressive candidates can be seen as school-finance-friendly? Because they are not. Are you saying this because you believe charter schools will spring magically from coming legislation? Even that, historically, does not lead to increased teacher income.

So, Dolph, why don't you come clean and let us know just what you really mean? If you've had a change of heart, or just have come to see reality, let us know. Otherwise your are "as sounding brass", and have little credibility.

Richard Crank 1 year, 6 months ago

I trust and hope, Mr. Simons, that you'll keep all this in mind when you prepare to make endorsements and non-endorsements in 2016 and beyond. Otherwise, it's the same old hypocrisy that puts party and ideology ahead of the people's needs, desires, and expectations.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 6 months ago

I remember when Dolph endorsed a governor that had unconstitutionally underfunded schools over the candidate who focused on better school funding.... oh right, that was the last election.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

Well Mr Simons perhaps you'd like to explain why you endorsed and voted for Sam Brownback?

Is party control more important than sound money management? It does appear so.

Are your obscene tax dollar privileges more important than sound money management? Apparently so.

Mr Simons ALEC is NOT representative of GOP fiscal responsible management.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

Why do Kansas Republicans Vote for Anti American ALEC Right Wing Politicians Which Have NEVER Supported Republican Values or Fiscal Management?

What did Brownback bring to Kansas? Why are Kansas Legislators SPINELESS?

--- Still A Bad Idea –The Conservative ENTITLEMENT Package for the wealtiest 1% and is still producing a dysfunctional economy. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

--- TABOR http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

Kansas JOBS Level Worst Since 2014

http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article78817667.html

Kansas going broke is the ALEC platform with Brownback as the administrator.

--- http://www.nebraskademocrats.org/content/gop-platform-2016-george-w-bush-steroids

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

Reinstate the taxes is the answer!

This privatized public school financing scandal could fiscally paralyze many communities and destroy real estate market values. Think about it. This scandal is in your backyard as we speak.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on USD 497 students,

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on local economies.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out . Think what impact that would have on the real estate industry and home sales.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on property values after the economy goes down the tubes one more time at the direction of the GOP one more time.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on home loan bankruptcy activity.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on car sales.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on local sales taxes.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on local carpenters,plumbers,painters,landscape maintenance crews

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas are being forced out. Think what impact that would have on the overall quality of life in the state of Kansas thanks to the GOP one more time.

Taxpayer should want more tax dollars spent on public education because it brings our tax dollars home….. which are spent in many many many local economies.

We must ask ourselves why in the hell does corporate America want to own government programs that they spend so much time and money convincing we taxpayers our great programs are evil and do not work? BIG PROFIT $$$$$ !

Exposing the ALEC Agenda to Defund and Destroy Public Schools

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-van-roekel/exposing-alecs-agenda-to-_b_3223651.html

http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

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