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Teachers Were and Are Dedicated to Excellence

September 09, 2004

Re "Schools Deserve So Much More Than Mediocrity," Voices, Sept. 4:

Nancy Field's commentary on schools left me wondering who are the teachers she sees every day? I came into public education over 20 years ago with the goal of helping to reform a failing system. What I found from the beginning was a system whose teachers and administrators are committed to excellence; they are engaged in improving their professional practice.

Yes, there are some mediocre teachers who work for the next paycheck, but those teachers are the minority. I have worked as a teacher's aide, an elementary school teacher and a high school teacher in barrios, affluent neighborhoods and middle-class communities.

After I started teaching, the question, "Why is education failing?" confused me because the educators I saw 20 years ago and the teachers I see today are hardworking, dedicated individuals who succeed despite overcrowded classrooms and inadequate facilities. The teachers of the future described by Field are already in our public schools today.

Barbara Chavez-Rock



Two Sept. 4 Voices articles (by Nancy Field, and "Show Those Future Voters How It's Done," by Ellen S. Schmalholz) united in my mind -- make education more exciting and relevant; and bring political debate into the home.

With this country so divided, it would seem this is an excellent year to bring politics into the classroom for a few days. Principals could encourage their faculties to hold serious debates in all subject areas.

Students could become party nominees and bring the issues so often glossed over by our political leaders into classrooms or cafeterias. This would culminate in a November "election" with real voting. Sounds quite fun and relevant !

Tricia Hoye

Mid-City Magnet teacher


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