Teachers refused to accept responsibility for student failures

Jul 27, 2013 by

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – In a recent guest editorial, Brent Regan, a former school board member and community advocate, offered his perspective on why so many problems persist in Idaho public school districts.

Regan begins his piece by reminding everyone about the importance of education as the foundation for the state and nation’s future.

“Without a solid foundation of basic knowledge, our youth will be denied their maximum potential and fulfillment because they will lack the full spectrum of tools needed to pursue their happiness,” he writes in the Coeur d’Alene Press.

The first problem Regan addresses is the issue of teacher leadership. Too many educators, generally backed by their unions, refused to accept responsibility for student failures, according to Regan.

It’s their job to teach children, yet they expect to be held harmless they fail to do their jobs.

Regan claims that when Coeur d’Alene Teacher’s Union President Kristi Milan was asked why we don’t have better performing schools, she replied, “It’s because we don’t get good students.”

Was that answer good enough for the Coeur d’ Alene school board? If so, that town desperately needs a new school board.

Regan also addressed performance based pay for teachers.

“In our school districts there is no direct correlation between teacher performance and teacher compensation,” he wrote. “Pay rates are simply a function of years on the job and the number of hours a teacher has spent as a student.”

To further emphasize his point, he offers the following example:

“Timothy Sandford teaches general band at LCHS and is the lead contract negotiator for the CEA. Mr. Sandford was one of 35 recipients of the 2011 National Education Association’s (NEA) California Causality Award for Teaching Excellence. Mr. Sandford was nominated for this award by the IEA (Idaho teacher’s union). According to public records, his 2012 pay was $60,080.

“Compare this with Katie Pemberton, who teaches Pre-Algebra to 6th through 8th graders at Canfield Middle School. She earned the title of 2013 Idaho State Teacher of the Year. Ms. Pemberton was nominated by her peers. Her pay in 2012 was $45,983. Is it good policy to pay our Idaho Teacher of the Year 76 percent of what a band director/union negotiator makes?

“Without the opportunity to have superior performance identified and rewarded, quality cannot improve and the consumer will look elsewhere for educational services.”

The final point addressed by Regan is the introduction of the new national Common Core math and English standards, which have been approved and accepted by the Idaho legislature, as well as lawmakers in most other states.

Regan argues that these standards “will reduce local control of education and decrease the opportunity for innovative solutions to be implemented.”

Citizens like Regan, who have already left the political arena but still care enough to speak up when necessary, deserve credit from their community, and their thoughts should be taken seriously.

Former school board member offers insight about problems facing Idaho districts – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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