Freedom of the Press


This is one of those situations where the freedom of the press is only open to those that have a press, and a distribution system.  The owner of the press makes the rules.

After listening to President Obama’s speech to a jount session of Congress on Tuesday, Mrs. Chief took the education part seriously and sent the following to our local newspaper, The Piqua Daily Call:

Piqua Daily Call
P.O. Box 921
Piqua, Ohio  45356

Dear Editor:

I watched President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.  I applaud his call for more education by saying that we cannot afford, as a nation, to have high school drop-outs.  This is a critical problem that is not being addressed by the school districts and not being addressed by the state.

I went through the public school system long before learning disabilities were part of the public dialogue.  I worked hard, very hard and the best I could accomplish was a D+ and, occasionally, a C-.  No one diagnosed a learning disability called dyslexia.  I dropped out of school in the tenth grade.

I watched my oldest child struggle with the same problem and then grand-children and now, unfortunately, great-grand-child, a seven year old.

And all this time, over the last fifty plus years, we’ve watched politicians denigrate education by cutting the funding and increasing the burden on teachers.  And over the last fifty years we have done absolutely nothing do diagnose and remedy the “learning disabilities” that a significant part of the student population of the schools must endure.

This is a problem that will only be solved by a vast infusion of money.

A long time ago, teachers used to teach and were paid enough to be a respected member of the community.  Now they are expected to be teachers, baby-sitters and anything in between that the school administration wants to burden them with.  And parents want to make sure that their children do not have any homework.

The result is that some students achieve and those that can’t get passed from one grade to the next.

What we need are a lot more resources directed to the early elementary years to detect those children who are having difficulty learning and not only diagnose the problem but successfully treat it long before they get to Junior High.  Nine and ten year olds can be very hurtful when picking on a student that is having trouble “getting it.”

By the time these students get pushed along to high school it is too late.  And the system we have here in Miami County has the local school district encouraging these troubled students to opt for the Joint Vocational School in Piqua.

Students that have developmental disabilities have a right, under Ohio state law, to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which requires the teacher to be not only a teacher but an instructor in things that the parent(s) should be, and were when I was young, responsible for.

As far as I am concerned, being a school teacher is the most important job in society.  I believe we need to pay teachers a heck of a lot more money than they are currently receiving and we need to hire a lot more of them.

If we expect to have a society that can compete educationally with the Chinese and folks from India and Pakistan, we need to increase the amount of money we spend on public education.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Chief

Well, the letter was rejucted because it was too long.  The paper has a 400 word limit.  This letter was 528 words and they have “readers who count words.”  That was the first complaint.

The second problen was this sentence And the system we have here in Miami County has the local school district encouraging these troubled students to opt for the Joint Vocational School in Piqua.

One cannot criticize the student population at the vocational school (JVS) because “some of them do go on to college.”

And while it is true that there are some bright students who graduate from the JVS and go on to have very successful lives and careers, there are a disproportionate number of students who have been passed from grade to grade by their home school (about 14 high schools are in the JVS district) until they finish the tenth grade when they are “encouraged” to spend the last two years of school at the JVS.  Thereby the home high school gets rid of a headache.

Now, if I was an outsider, I would be open to a certain type of criticism.  But, I have taught at this particular school.  And I have two very close relatives that also still do teach at this school and the observation is that the school administration will put up with a lot because they are getting paid by the student from the state and from the home school district.

Even after eliminating the offending graf, the letter was still 480 words.  Eighty too many.

Bottom Line: The letter is not getting published because neither Mrs. Chief not I can cut it down to the 400 word limit and still retain the essence of the letter.

UPDATE:

Mrs. Chief just sent this letter to The White House, with a brief explanation.

Explore posts in the same categories: Politics

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