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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Editorial in The Oklahoman About Centennial HS

Today's editorial in The Oklahoman is about Centennial HS where I teach. The article upon which it is based is fair and balanced. Megan Rolland did a good job of presenting the complexity of what we face at OCHS.

Unfortunately, the editorial is not fair at all. The writer simply hounds the school for "failing" its students, and suggests that the district should jump in and make major changes right away. Of course, the writer has the luxury of not coming up with any substantive ideas.

Our students need help at Centennial, but we won't fix a broken system by smashing it. We have students who cannot function in a normal school environment. They make learning impossible for their fellow students. They need a different environment where they will thrive. Failing students need to be in required tutoring classes with trained teachers who can meet their individual needs. These needs cannot be met in a class of 25-30 with a teacher who has a workload of around 140 students.

These things take money, and money is the last thing Oklahoma seems to have for its students.

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