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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Times Union, doesn't get it

The Times Union just doesn’t get it. One of the biggest problems we have here in Jacksonville is that our school system is run by politicians on their way up or way down and casual observers filled with hubris who have at best a tenuous relationship to education. I am not saying they are of bad character or lack compassion and passion. I am saying they are out of their depth and the school system, our children and the entire city suffers for it.

So what does the Times Union do? It endorses a politician on his way down, Eric Smith and a politician on his way up, Fred “Fel” Lee. Admittedly, they do so while giving a nod to two teachers who have been in the classrooms and roaming the halls of schools in the county for a combined 29 years, Becki Couch and John King, saying they wouldn’t be bad choices. However a nod is not good enough.

Just like I wouldn’t turn to a Lawyer to take care of my health needs or a plumber to fly me across country no matter how good they were at their respective jobs, I don’t think Jacksonville should rely on professional politicians to run our schools. Judge for yourself the track record they have had.

Our children can no longer afford for “school board member” to be a line on a resume. Instead we need people who have been passionate about and dedicated to education. People who have been with our children and who have worked side by side with the cities teachers in the cities schools. They, not casual observers will have the best ideas of what works or what doesn’t. They, better than career politicians, will have a better idea of what the district needs to be successful. There is not one current board member who has been in a classroom in over a decade. The board is made up of lawyers, life long politicians and consultants and has been for quite some time. We don’t just need some teachers on the board; we desperately need some teachers on the board.

When the Times Union endorses politicians over teachers to run our schools it says to its readers, things are fine and things aren’t fine. It says to the people of Jacksonville lets continue to do business as usual, when the city can no longer afford to do it that way and it says, we just don’t get it.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher


  1. It continues to state that teachers have no real value. Teachers don't know enough to make good decisions for schools, that's why principals treat teachers like dunces. Teachers are excluded from serious decision making in favor of business people or people who haven't been in a classroom as a teacher in years.
    It should be a requirement that administrators, including downtown, teach a class for at least one semester every two years. Not at the magnet schools, but at the challenged schools. There's nothing like first hand experience.

  2. If administrators were required to teach I think many of our problems would be solved. They are very disconnected from the realities of education. Thanks for your note!