Washoe Schools Need to Return to the Basics

Washoe County School District Superintendent Heath Morrison says making $35 million in budget cuts could mean laying off for as many as 200 teachers, administrators and support staff, and dipping again into school book funds and reserve accounts. During the same town-hall meeting one parent said if she had it to do over she wouldn’t have come to nevada because “the quality of education is not good.”

“I want businesses here. That’s the only way that we are going to help our economy,” says Tami Berg from Nevada PTA, told KOLO TV.

How will educating 6th, 7th and 8th graders today help our economy now? The answer is that it can’t and it won’t, but that is the general theory being pushed by teaching organizations and their support groups, including the Parent-Teachers Association and the media.

Furthermore, the complaints issued by school administrators like Morrison continue in the vain that our public school buildings are falling apart. Don’t believe this because if it were true and as dangerous as it’s often made out — local authorities such as the fire marshal would shutter that building until the needed repairs were made.

So lets look at a logical and simple solution to the budgeting problem as it affects the student. After all it is the students education that should remain the focus of any school system.

“Lets get back to basics,” has been a cry from school administrators, teacher and parents for years. But so far — no one has truly made such a renaissance move.

So lets dare to get rid of the round tables where young minds can find distraction after distraction to become involved in. Line students desks up in neat little rows — butt to knee — facing forward and help them focus on the chalkboard.

And speaking of the chalkboard — make it a REAL chalkboard. Let’s forgo the dry eraser and white board as they are far more expensive to maintain than the old style chalk and black board with its erasers and rags.

Then put that board to good use. Write out assignments and make certain students understand that the given-assignment is THEIR responsibility to complete.

The use of textbooks should be done sparingly. The teacher should be so well acquainted with the subject they are instructing that the need for a text-book by a student would only be required if the student is behind in their studies.

Return to paper and pencil. The need for computers, printers, software, etc., is unfounded. Besides as things are today — the student already has access to these items at home and besides — and they tend to understand their use better than most adults.

This also goes for the move to the electronic classroom. Who is this really for? The student, the teacher or other? These have only one purpose — to impress school district’s who have less to spend on these nifty, but very expensive toys.

And does a classroom really need to be wired for the internet? Not hardly as the use of the world-wide web would be reduced to perhaps the teacher’s lounge or maybe the school’s library.

Lastly, maintain a rigid discipline in the classroom; it is neither for fun or socializing. It’s a job — and besides — that is what recess and lunch period are for. So it’s time to quit pandering to the PC crowd — who cry that our children are over worked — and put the child’s nose to the schoolwork on the desk.

Yes, the basics are hard — but the basics will save money. Besides it was good enough for my grandparents, who could quote Shakespeare and multiply numbers faster in their heads than most people using a calculator — and both went only as far as the 8th grade.

Finally, Morrison says unknown factors include the final budget and possible union concessions during contract negotiations. The school district is currently in talks with its five employee associations.

Unknown factors! What is he trying to be — politically correct?

Pish-posh. Let’s be straight here!

If the union spent half the money they raise on students as they do on Democrat candidates for president, etc., much of the financial crisis the school district screams it is in trouble over would vanish. This isn’t an attack on membership — no — instead it’s worth noting how union leadership views the dues paid by members.

Enough said.

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