Teach Your Children Well


Random thoughts about teachers:Yes, some teachers are overpaid. Yes, some do a lousy job but are protected by the tenure system.Here’s what I know, though, about some Kansas teachers.

They work hard every day to make sure my kids and yours get a decent education. They do this in spite of the fact that federal mandates increasingly choke off their creativity. These days it’s all about teaching to the test.  There’s even a possibility that school funding could become dependent on how kids perform on standardized tests. No allowances for kids who are poor, hungry, transient, or have other issues that affect their performance. Toe the line or lose the money.

I’d like to give some props to some real-life Kansas teachers:High school teachers who make less than $30,000 a year, but spend their lunch hours and their evenings working with kids who need extra help. I think it’s all about some crazy commitment to seeing their students succeed.

Teachers who pack up twelve-year-olds and take them on field trips to art museums, concerts, and speeches by big-wigs who happen to stop by Kansas State University. Yeah, they should probably be back at school, “teaching to the test.” But how many sixth-graders get the chance to ask the director of the FBI: “How much did the FBI know about 9/11 and when did it know it?” True story: I was there when it happened. Kudos to former director Mueller for telling the kid he had a job at the FBI whenever he wanted one.

Teachers who worry about first-graders whose parents don’t show up for parent-teacher conferences. Or respond to notes or phone calls about their kids. Teachers who finally literally go to the student’s home, many times to find a family fighting poverty, ignorance, depression, or all of the above.Teachers, many of them spouses of deployed soldiers, who must put aside their own fears to deal with students who worry that their dad or mom might not come home from their third tour in a combat zone. That’s pretty heavy-duty stuff for a fifth-grader, don’t you think? Yet our teachers love them, support them, and try to help them get through one more day of the war.

That’s just a little bit of what I know about Kansas teachers. You probably know some teacher just like them.Take a minute and tell them thank you.