School success takes a community

Published 12:00am Sunday, September 22, 2013

For most of us, even decades later, we can recall our favorite teacher, the one who made us laugh, made us work hard, treated us fairly and ultimately helped us learn.

The old adage, “If you can’t do anything else, teach,” unfairly labels teachers as incapable of doing much else. For the good teachers out there, the phrase is an insult and just downright wrong.

For the truly great ones, teaching is a calling, not unlike going into the ministry. Many of the world’s best teachers actually have skills that could propel them far from the classroom and often for much greater personal gain, yet they choose to teach. And God bless them for doing so.

We need more great teachers.

Unfortunately, the old adage about teaching can also have some truth in it, too. The bar for being a teacher and the accountability for maintaining one’s employment as a teacher is often too low.

If we as a community are frustrated by low test scores and horribly high dropout rates in our public schools, we as a community should focus part of our attention on the people in the classrooms.

Do they have a heart for students, or is it just a job? Are they equipped with the tools they need to reach today’s students?

Are we celebrating success of the teachers who are deemed great and encouraging subpar teachers to either improve or move on?

If we, as a community and as school district, don’t know the answers to those questions, we need to begin figuring them out quickly.

Each day we delay, the problem may get worse and more children are lost as dropouts.