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Dorothy Klopf: Dinosaurs value high achievers

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DOROTHY KLOPF

Commentary

Posted: Saturday, May 31, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 10:59 am, Wed Jun 4, 2014.

As an old-school dinosaur, I know better than to think I will see eye-to-eye with the highly progressive humans of Santa Fe. But I confess my little arms shook and a growl escaped my sharp teeth when I thought of the school board’s 3-2 decision in February to raise property taxes for education. Everyone wants to support better schools. A dinosaur wants to ask: What specifically makes a school good?

My elementary school provided a first-class and free education for the children of our mostly immigrant, working-class neighborhood. The building (still in use today) was constructed in 1910 and textbooks were more than two decades old. We students sat at immovable, lift-top desks and had cloakrooms for our cloaks. By devising a triple session, Incarnation School managed to teach 1,400 children in a building intended for 800 students.

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2 comments:

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 9:35 am on Mon, Jun 2, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1670

    Books, teachers, and truancy officers to keep the little darlings in class, that's where the money should be going. Spending lots of money on empty schools and tech projects while accepting a 40% dropout rate and bottom-of-the-barrel results is just stupid.

     
  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 3:16 pm on Sun, Jun 1, 2014.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 481

    [thumbup]
    How refreshing! Someone else remembers a time when students went to school to learn; “them and us” meant academic competition; old buildings and books were not an excuse for not learning, and large class sizes were the norm.

    We might not have liked our teachers, but we respected them. We might have wanted different parents—richer, more modern, and better educated—but we respected them, and they had respect for education and for those whom they entrusted with our educations. Most of us were more afraid of what would happen to us at home if we did not learn or conduct ourselves properly (bring “shame” on our families). Not doing our best with what we had was the exception rather than the rule. Failure, doing poorly or needing help meant extra classwork, extra homework, or help from another family member or teacher. No one was rewarded with a gift. There were no i-Pads then, but if there were, they would have been presents, not learning aids.

    Our students do not even have books from which to study. Our classrooms do not have “full sets” of books that the students can share. We do have empty buildings, a mass exodus of teachers, one of the highest spending percentages on education in the US, but a ranking of #50 in education.

    Ms. Kloph is correct: the money earmarked for internet, i-Pads and refurbishing buildings is foolish. Few schools and students have internet hook-ups or connectivity in this state—buy them some books.

     

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Today’s New Mexican, July 24, 2014

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