Monday, April 21, 2014
Vitti knows we need social workers and counselors, chooses to fund TFA instead
In a Times Union piece about uneven discipline the superintendent gave an impassioned plea for more social workers and mental health counselors, a sentiment that has been expressed on Education Matters dozens and dozens of times, because often why a kid acts up or doesn’t try in school often has nothing to do with school.
He said there are complexities behind those numbers (suspensions/referrals), some having to do with student behavior, some with teachers’ and administrators’ behaviors and assumptions, and some with parents.
Also, there’s a community-wide lack of mental health and emotional support for students growing up in poverty, he said. Florida ranks 49th among 50 states in mental health funding, he added.
“We have children dealing with depression, anger and frustrations that are linked to their socioeconomic situations,” he said.
With better funding, he said, schools and their community partners could scale up support services from social workers, psychologists, mentors and improve the school’s outreach to parents.
The super is dead on and the super also had the resources dangled in front of him to put a huge dent in the problem. He passed.
Instead the super has chosen to spend over 5 million dollars (not counting benefits, salary and district training) on Teach for America Teachers, rookie non-education majors who at best have a whiff of classroom management training. It gets worse to because most of them will be put in our neediest schools where “We have children dealing with depression, anger and frustrations that are linked to their socioeconomic situations,”
Instead of bringing scabs in, why wasn’t the money invested in people who can really make a difference?
You know what gets me about our super? He has a lot of good ideas that are only half implemented and he talks the talk but doesn’t always walk the walk about what is best for our students.