Put money back in the classroom
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I've been a classroom teacher for 39 years in a profession where the average new teacher lasts only 4.5 years. I have a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in journalism and an additional 60 hours, primarily in special education. I make under $60,000 a year and I'm at the top of the scale for a classroom teacher in West Virginia.
Free public education is the greatest idea to ever have been developed by humanity. No doubt the "Freedom isn't free" people will disagree, but they probably went to private schools. For nearly 10,000 years religions controlled education which was given only to the "worthy" (those who could afford to pay). Around 1865 America freed slaves and wise men started free public education to teach former slaves to read and write and opened the school doors to all. The world has changed considerably since 1865 compared to the previous 10,000 years. I contend the vast improvement in lifestyles, food, clothing, medicine, transportation, communication, housing, technology and science are all due to the efforts of public schools and public school teachers and students.
Students of free public education have altered our world and transformed our realities. The people who want to be in control don't like what can't be controlled. So they try to manipulate the power of free public education to their advantage. When that becomes too difficult, they try to control free public education itself. That's what's happening with the governor and Legislature now. They have the help of various control groups who think school is a business and children are just so many widgets. This dehumanization of students has resulted in things like Columbine and Newtown.
The recent educational audit noted the huge administration staffs at state and local board offices. Most have left the classroom because they couldn't take it anymore. Put the money into classroom teachers who do for kids every day. Care for people who care for kids, not bureaucrats who feather their own nests.
Rivers monument is a great idea
I'd like to give a big thumbs up to Phillip Smith and West Virginia Trout Unlimited for supporting the potential Birthplace of Rivers National Monument in his recent opinion piece. A National Monument sounds like the right prescription for the area in question as it would promote existing uses like hunting, fishing, and wildlife management while providing a level of protection to keep the area from being degraded.