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Dear Editor,

Has the Task Force considered the simple truth that teachers —no matter what — have the tremendous power to transform lives in the classroom?  We’ve come this far and the ‘system’ still isn’t working? How could that be on an island with so many PhDs compared to a small rural college in Maine? You tell me. Is this some form of sarcasm? 

I suggest we give the power to the teachers to lead, to make choices, to dictate changes in the curriculum. Reassign the lazy and unmotivated teachers, and set-up a Real Teachers Drive for the best in the hard-to-fill content areas — (English, math, science) — and give them the salary they deserve. Set up charter schools and fill them with dedicated teachers; these charter schools could be incubators for student learning, research, and assessment.

I’m a proud product of the local public school system. In grade school, my teachers were old women and men who had basic teacher training and spoke very little English. Their form of discipline is now considered unlawful. Even at a young age, I don’t recall if their style of teaching motivated me. Yet, there was something about their lives — as positive role models — that instilled in me the joy of learning and the endless possibilities for an unclouded future if I try — at least.  

To avoid this reform as another pie in the sky confetti, let the passionate teachers take over.

Virginia Wolf once said that teaching without zest is a crime. And for so long we’ve drowned our students in a quagmire of mediocrity, which we often laud as ‘graduating with high honors’ — a standard so misleading, yet academically resounding to any average-thinking community.      

With respect,

Poe Mageo