|Closing of Marion schools as students|
exit to the county schools.
The key one is this: the turn over in teachers in the Marion School system this year is epidemic. My sense is that as many as 40% of the teachers in some of the Marion schools did not return this year. As a case in point, my son was scheduled to take a follow-up course with a favorite teacher he had last year for Bio-Med. Thankfully, they were able to find a teacher for this year, but the well-liked teacher is gone. MANY teachers are gone.
There's no disputing the problem. Why are the teachers jumping ship like rats? There is a serious problem here, and someone needs to get to the bottom of it! As this article indicates, it is not just a Marion problem. It is not just an Indiana problem. It is a widespread problem in the US. (So I am not casting aspersion at any of the leadership of the Marion Community Schools.)
Perhaps the most poignant paragraph in the article is this one: "a combination of under-resourced schools, the loss of job protections, unfair teacher evaluation methods, an increase in the amount of mandated standardized testing and the loss of professional autonomy."
That all sounds about right to me. Lots of thoughts. Here's just a few.
- I understand the drive to give choices to parents. But the consequence is that the schools that need the most help get less and less.
- The behavior problem is MAJOR. I'd say to put those that can behave together regardless of academic ability but I'm not sure how many "behaved" classes you would actually have. All I can think of is having two teachers in many classrooms, with a well-designed system of student removal when problems arise. Again, that means more money to the very schools from which the Indiana legislature is taking it away.
- You can't ignore the lowest common denominator to focus only on the middle and upper classes. The end result is out of control crime, violence, and drug traffic, not to mention a stupid majority.
- Decades of bureaucratic interference by both parties has sucked all the fun out of teaching. Democrats are notorious for administrative nonsense, and the Republicans in Indiana last year signed into law, was it fourteen hours worth of standardized testing?
- By merit pay linked to student scores, you reward the teachers with easy rural students and penalize those that are willing to teach difficult, inner city students.
Nevertheless, let me again emphatically agree with the principal of Marion High School last week. MHS is still the best high school in the county in terms of its academic offerings. Gifted students who have fled to the counties for better behavior in middle school should come back for high school. The AP and honors possibilities at MHS are unmatched by the county schools, as far as I can tell.