Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Teachers as a whole get criticized for cranking out mediocre product and results. They can be their worst public relations enemies, coming off as whiners about their work duties and conditions.
However, their clientele makes their task daunting and thankless. My friend, Thomas Reeves wrote a guest blog last July, “Why fire teachers?” The Reader’s Digest version: Teachers can’t teach those who have no desire to be taught. Reeves, reacting to the firing of teachers in
“We need to ask whether or not teachers are responsible for the personal and cultural problems that impede education, such as poverty, broken homes, and a culture that glorifies anti-intellectualism and rock bottom cultural standards? Why study when no one you admire on MTV pays it any attention? Why read anything when no one else you know does? (The National Center for Education Statistics reports that reading tests conducted in 2008 showed gaps between White and Black students ranging from 21to 29 points, and between White and Hispanic students, ranging from 21 to 26 points.) Why not just skip, flunk, or drop out and devote yourself to winning on American Idol, playing video games, having out-of-wedlock babies, shooting hoops, or just roaming the streets looking for trouble?
To untold numbers of students, school is a terrible bore and burden, especially to those (dare we say it?) of below average intelligence. It is torture to inflict algebra or history on a student who has no capacity to learn even the rudiments. Normal people flee from pain, and so do many students. In the school year of 2006-07, nearly half of Milwaukee Public Schools students were habitually absent.
How can the most well-prepared lesson plans and the most pleading teacher make an impact on those for whom school is a nasty waste of time? The mental passivity and inability, often reflected in grotesque apparel, tattoos, facial hardware, and fierce language, can shatter the goals of any teacher, no matter how sincere and dedicated.”
Indeed. What about the parents?
I know many MPS teachers. The anecdotes they’ve shared about their day-to-day horrors are disturbing, head shakers that make one wonder how people can live the way they do.
One retired teacher told me that when he asked an elementary school age girl why she wasn’t in school the day before, she replied that she had to make breakfast for her mother and live-in boyfriend. Both were too stoned to help themselves.
Florida House member Kelli Stargel says teachers are being judged constantly. Now it’s time to rate parents. Stargel has proposed a bill requiring elementary school teachers to rate parents on a simple scale: Satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory. Four broad categories would be used to grade parents: Parents' response to requests for school meetings or communication, their children's completion of homework and preparation for tests, their children's absentee and tardy rates and their children's "physical preparation for school.” The grade would appear on the child’s report card.
Questions remain about Stargel’s proposal. What if the teacher knows little, if anything about a parent? Would the grades even be effective?
Still, it’s an intriguing idea, one that warrants further exploration and study.
Read more in the Orlando Sentinel.