A need to get back to the basics

After a long, wonderful teaching career in Catholic schools, I chose to substitute in both public and parochial schools. I have seen the vast difference between the two types of schools.

When I began my teaching career in Milwaukee, we had 50 to 55 students in our classrooms. We taught every student to his/her highest potential. We heard on the news of what went on in nearby public schools, such as a girl being raped in a stairwell, and realized that public schools did not have the discipline we did.

Times have changed, and students are more distracted now. Many teachers (and substitutes) are young and seem to think they should be friends of the children, giving high-fives as kids enter for the day. The discipline is rapidly disappearing.

Most appalling for me was finding out that in some public school systems in Trempealeau County, administrators have forbidden teachers to enforce memorization of basics such as multiplication facts. That brought to mind a conversation I had recently with a trainer at Ashley Furniture’s factory. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but they were very simple. He showed a trainee the unit they would be making, explaining that each required eight fee of material. Since they were to make four units, he asked the trainee how many feet of material they should bring out. The newcomer had no idea of the answer to the question.

My observation is that students in the public schools are being led to believe that the computer god has all the answers 24/7. So why do we have to learn even the definitions of words (there are no longer dictionaries in classrooms) or any of the basics of education? The future of our children is at stake. We are not preparing kids for life.

Deanne Sczepanski

Whitehall