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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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May 22, 2005

A Substitute's Lament


A reader responds regarding Seattle public schools:

If only Seattle parents sent their children to school curious about learning and respectful of the incredible opportunity they have, so much else would fall into place. I substituted in about 20 Seattle schools in 2003 and saw first hand the difference between a class where the kids wanted to know stuff, and the class where a kid bragged about spending the previous day at Wild Waves because her parents didn't think it mattered that much about missing a day of school (albeit with an inexperienced substitute). Needless to say, demoralized staff in the latter kind of school costs the District, as they stress and seek new placements. There's also the challenge of kids who seem to enjoy wasting school materials, thinking there is an endless supply. Teachers often provide new pencils, tablets, construction paper and other supplies only to see kids grinding away at the pencil sharpener, cutting one hole in the middle of a piece of construction paper and throwing the rest away, or wadding up a first draft when the other side of the paper is blank. Teachers bend over backward for students who are really trying to learn, so fostering that interest at home will do wonders, and probably cut personnel costs and materials costs as well. An experiment might be to ask every parent to provide their kids with a small box of crayons, a tablet, and 2 pencils in June, and see if they can make them last until September, while producing a few stories and math problems along the way.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at May 22, 2005 08:51 AM



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