letter to the editor
It’s time to take responsibility for our schoolsBy Bill Hosko
In Senator Pappas’ April column, Addressing Minnesota’s Public Education Crisis, she avoided using six critical words: parental responsibility, personal responsibility and professional responsibility.
Thousands of St. Paul kids have now been moved from public schools into charter schools by their parents and/or into private schools if they can afford them. Their number one reason is that order and respect in every classroom, for teachers and fellow students, is no longer expected. Privately, most teachers agree in my conversations It is an election year, and Senator Pappas used her column, which the Community Reporter generously gives her, to with all due respect, sanctimoniously wag her finger at people who dare to disagree with her viewpoints. Increasing public school funding to record heights – in this case, let’s use tens of millions of dollars from the state’s revenue surplus, is her perpetual answer to our distressed public school system. ‘We must support our teachers and our students’ is her decades-old message.
The truth: Our public-school decline has grown exponentially under her oversight and misconduct has indeed been normalized. Subsequently, we continue to have one of the lowest graduation rates in the state, according to Minnesota Department of Education data.
This can never be repaired until the following occurs:
1. Parents from all backgrounds and economic status need to be reminded of the importance that children get enough sleep, have a good breakfast before leaving home and are taught the importance of good behavior in school.
2. Our kids are as bright as kids anywhere. However, they do need to know it is expected that they behave and be respectful when in school. They can’t learn well, and neither can other kids in class, if they are acting up.
3. Lastly, our school board, superintendent and the politicians who send them funding, need to take an honest look at what is occurring under their collective watch. Continuing to allow misconduct and disruption of classrooms has been a massive mistake, and, based on my conversations with educators, it’s growing.
Simultaneously, politicians are now ensuring that kids (and adults) are allowed to misbehave on public transit, openly shoplift and engage in any number of antisocial behavior with little or no consequence. This isn’t complicated and our kids are smart. Looking the other way, or worse yet, placating student misbehavior is basically telling them that ‘we don’t care enough about you to stop your mistreatment of others, or yourself.’
Lastly, for those who have never seen the film To Sir with Love, now is a perfect time to do so. Its message about earned respect between teacher and classroom is as timeless today as it was in 1967.
Bill Hosko, 59, is a Saint Paul native and a self-employed architectural illustrator/artist for 32 years and a downtown business owner of 29 years. He’s a political independent who has campaigned for St. Paul City Council and Mayor of St. Paul.