While we understand the desire to help students escape bad schools, we hope state leaders understand there may be unintended consequences to tax credits in the recent accountability act. When kids leave borderline schools, those schools will be left worse off. Due to the inability of the education bureaucracy in Montgomery to embrace change, we can’t expect parents not to take advantage of an opportunity to get their kids out of failing schools, but neither should we let the remaining students stay mired in failure!
One proposal to reverse negative educational trends is to require all 5th graders to take a basic skills exit exam. Those that do not pass would go to a remediation school for 1 year before moving to middle school. After 8th grade, students that still can’t perform basic skills would be assigned to a technical program to learn other job skills as part of their education. No clogging up classrooms with students that some just want to “pass” along out of the system, when they can’t multiply 7 x 3 in the 11th grade. Furthermore, we have to quit coddling kids in middle and high school that create serious disruptions in the classroom that slow down other students.
We also hope that leaders recognize that most teachers work extremely hard and haven’t had a decent raise in several years. In fact, they have taken the brunt of increased retirement contributions, and fewer textbook and classroom supply funds from both parties. A 2% pay raise is simply not enough after the hits that have been taken since 2008. We know budgets are tight, but there must be a way to provide more funding to the classrooms in the form of textbooks, supplies, and raises that keep up with the increasing costs of energy, healthcare, and taxes seen under the Obama administration.
Russ Wallace, Coach/Educator
Don Wallace, CPA/Businessman