Jacksonville will never reach its potential as long as it ignores its teachers.
Superintendent Vitti announced that next year behavior specialists will be put in some of our neediest and challenged schools. This is a great idea and one I and other teachers suggested eight years ago and at a minimum dozens of times since.
You see teachers understand that why so many kids act up or perform poorly in school often has nothing to do with school. As the people doing the actual educating we are closest to the situation and know what does and does not work as well as what our children, our students both need and do not need.
Unfortunately like in most places teachers in Jacksonville have gone largely marginalized and ignored. There is no other field like education and I say that because in other professions the people that do it are routinely consulted and involved in the decision making process and the people making decisions about the profession usually rose from the ranks, that so ignores and marginalizes its rank and file . Imagine a hospital where doctors weren’t on the board or a police department run by laymen, whose experience consisted of reading a few articles and watching a lot of Law and Order.
Our golden boy superintendent only has two years of teaching experience total that took place in two schools in two different states. Then only two of our seven school board members have any real education experience. How do we expect to reach our potential? The answer is we never will as long as we continue to ignore and marginalize teachers, to think of them as easily replaceable rather than professionals.
So thank you superintendent Vitti for recognizing that our schools need mental health professionals, but shame on you and the city for not recognizing it despite the cries of teachers years ago. Shame on you both for that and so much more.