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Letters to the editor

Don’t demonize our teachers

RE: “DOUBLING the APS deficit a bad decision” (March 6) and “APS’ spending doesn’t match stated priorities” (March 11).

Both authors fail to understand the solution the APS task force created for high school schedules is no “dream schedule.” It’s merely the teaching schedule that has been in place for over 40 years wherein teachers have five classes.

High school teachers are not costing APS any more money than in all those previous years – APS simply saved that money this year alone by having all high school teachers take on an additional class with absolutely no extra pay. What employee wouldn’t be upset with another 20 percent added to his job with no extra pay?

While it is true that teachers from every level are overworked and underpaid, that is no reason to stop advocating for a reasonable work environment – one that allows teachers to work best with students.

Now is the time for all principals and community members to advocate for their teachers, not demonize them.

The teacher shortage this city and country are facing is very real, and if we do not attract teachers, our public schools will not be able to provide the equity so badly needed in our country.

It is true that “education is the great equalizer,” but if we have nobody interested in taking on the job of a public school teacher, then where will our children be? Most teachers leave the profession within five years.

This problem needs to be addressed to ensure we have enough teachers to work toward public school success. Going back to the five-period day just might keep a teacher motivated to stay in the classroom. Any teacher would agree that a five-period schedule proves to be far less chaotic and more manageable. And that works best for students.

I understand the frustration with public schools and the many problems that exist in our schools. We have a long way to go to make our schools strong. But the bottom line is this: we need our teachers.

It’s in our best interest to honor teachers, not demean and demoralize them.



Return to old school schedule

CHANGING THE current bell schedule back to the way it was two years ago is the best option for the teachers and students in APS because it allows teachers more preparation time and students more time to engage.

The APS Board of Education decided to change the bell schedule due to a $5.2 million budget deficit. An elementary school principal said the old schedule is worse for students, but I disagree.

On this current schedule, students have all seven classes three days a week, versus the old schedule when students only had all seven classes one day a week. That means with this schedule, it is possible for students to receive homework from seven classes instead of only four, which is almost double the amount.

This schedule would also be best because juniors and seniors who have enough credits to receive late arrival could take advantage of this every day of the week. Research even shows that students who sleep for just an extra 30 minutes do better in academics than those who do not.

With this schedule, teachers will have one prep period and one period to recuperate and collaborate with other teachers within their same department.

With the previous schedule, students will be able to engage more deeply into curriculum and teachers will have more time to create that curriculum.



Students can’t keep up, either

HIGH SCHOOL students such as myself are having some problems with the current bell schedule simply because of the workload.

High school students and faculty have been playing keep-up on their workload with the current bell schedule. In this school year, teachers were given a 20 percent increase in workload. When teachers are given more work in no extra time to do the work, then it all falls on the students.

Homework gets to the point where it is too much to handle in the schedule we have today. I have all of my hardest classes on Wednesday. This new schedule has one perk and one perk only. The only good part is students and staff get an early release on Thursdays. Even with the break, I can constantly find myself playing catch-up, because of the lack of time I have to accomplish all of my work.

A typical high school student has 3.5 hours of homework a night, according to the Los Angeles Times. When you try and balance two hours with sports and 3.5 hours of homework, things get complicated. If you start your sport at 3 p.m., then you will end sports and homework at about 9 p.m. at night. That doesn’t give you time to eat and even attempt to have a social life. A big part of your well-being is social health.

According to the National Health Union, social health is imperative to your future and your present. When you get a job, you need to be social and not be awkward and timid. You should be confident and prideful. Learning skills of being social in life is important for your well-being.

The whole reason the schedule was created was to decrease the numbers of absence and tardiness. In making the schedule, they crammed 20 percent more work for everybody in the same amount of time.

If APS gave us six classes instead of seven, then that may solve the problems that students and faculty are facing.



Dream schedule’ a nightmare

CATCHING UP on classes is hard enough, but having to make up work from Tuesday all the way into Thursday is incredibly stressful. Because of APS’s new “dream schedule,” students and teachers are being piled on with more work. Then they are given a shorter amount of time to accomplish it.

… Not only are teachers and students feeling the heat, the APS budget is, too. The new schedule was supposed to relieve the multimillion dollar deficit; instead it raised the amount by nearly double. Because of that, more necessary cuts must be made in order to satisfy the deficit. …

Yes the “dream schedule” is hard to manage, but the transportation of students because of the early release on Thursdays, is almost worse. With parents who work all day, they now have to leave their child at home alone for longer. …

More homework, less time, new schedule. Familiar words that are associated with the APS administration. Hopefully their next step for Albuquerque students and teachers will be forwards, instead of backwards.



Newspaper needs an education

IF WHOEVER wrote the editorial in the March 11 edition (“APS’ spending doesn’t match stated priorities”) actually knew what they were talking about, they would report that the new high school schedule has failed kids.

When teachers are overworked and under the yoke of larger class sizes, instruction is compromised, morale is annihilated and the general quality of education is diminished.

The district responded appropriately to the task force of community stakeholders – including students – by going back to the schedule that was already working. This is a step in the right direction. It should be applauded.

The argument that middle and elementary teachers should get more planning time is sound. We should spend more money to make that happen.

Your editorial is an oversimplification of the problem, which is typical for your publication. You know nothing about putting kids first. That job is presently being handled by teachers who truly care about students.

This evidence is readily available and on display in any school in APS, every day. They are burdened by over-testing, incoherent regulations, unreasonable schedules and low pay.

Yet they unflinchingly give knowledge, time, generosity and love to their students and protect the learning environment. They keep the system alive as it is cannibalized by ignorant politicians and journalists who vilify what is an honorable and meaningful profession.

If you actually pursued solid journalism, you would talk to the people who really matter – students and teachers.

Additionally, the closing comment regarding Orwellian doublespeak is particularly humorous and absurd. Your paper demonstrates masterful dexterity and commitment to this “art” daily.