Letters to the Editor: May 17, 2017

We’re losing good teachers

The Philadelphia school district will have more than 1,000 vacancies for next school year for teachers. Fifteen percent of teachers are leaving the district. Teaching is a calling, but even if it is a calling, the district takes advantage of their employees’ idealism and altruism, and uses it against them when they want the salary that was promised to them in 2012.

My name is Bryan Steinberg, and I’ve been teaching at Arts Academy of Benjamin Rush for six years, and a total of eight years in the district. Experience is essential in teaching, because you learn from your mistakes in lesson planning, classroom management and problem solving difficult situations that occur spontaneously in class. My first year, I handled so many situations hastily and without tact. By year eight, I remember what not to do when similar situations occur or iron out mistakes in framing and sequencing a lesson. Any teacher must experience thousands of situations before they become a “veteran.”

For example, I became such a geek with researching constitutional history and law for my civics and political science class, but that took years of reading hundreds of Supreme Court cases. Then I taught the students to read and analyze a full-text Supreme Court case, then they picked their own case to research, they wrote a 10-page paper about it, created an art project paralleling the subject matter of the paper, and then they presented the case and the art project to their class to graduate.

That was the Rush senior project for the last two years. That project took six years to come to fruition. If the district cannot retain teachers after five years, how can you be a master of your craft and implement effective and rigorous lessons? Simple answer: It’s not possible. But that is how the district has been operating, and your children will suffer the consequences.

I don’t have to worry about the contract situation anymore because I am leaving the SDP, but parents should know what the district is doing to “reform education” is really just pushing a reset button to bring in rookies who know very little about their subject matter or how to control a class. So, if you hear the district’s radio campaign to recruit teachers, please know it is complete and utter nonsense and propaganda. They are just trying to clean house and force experienced teachers out, thus making way for inexperienced teachers in local classrooms because they are cheaper to employ. You will see many new faces at schools in the Northeast such as Washington, Swenson, Northeast, Lincoln and at Rush, because the lack of a contract is driving teachers away. This will affect your children in a negative way for the foreseeable future.

I am asking parents to call the district at 215–400–4000 and ask about the lack of a teachers’ contract.

Bryan Steinberg

Social Studies teacher at Arts Academy of Benjamin Rush

Protect law enforcement

I will say this and truly do not care who it upsets.

If you are a person in a position of leadership, that being the president to the governors to mayors to members of the legislature — from the top on down — and you do not back the people who keep us safe, that being law enforcement, you should be removed from office.

These people risk their lives every day to protect us the people. Public safety isn’t a political chess piece to garner more votes for politicians. The safety of the people is way too important.

So, I commend the state representative in my district, Martina White, for her bill to protect law enforcement.

This bill protects law enforcement officers in case of a shooting. The bill gives law enforcement 30 days to do an investigation on the incident.

This bill is not a bill to hope the issue goes away. If an officer is wrong, nothing in this bill prohibits them from being held accountable.

Leaders should keep us safe no matter what the cost.

David Lee

Chalfont

Stop slaughtering babies

Our leaders were outraged at the horrific pictures/videos of Syrian mothers and children being killed by chemical weapons, supposedly by their own government. We took it upon ourselves to punish Syria by immediately bombing one of its air bases. We wanted to warn them that we would not accept this type of atrocity.

How many mothers have died and how many millions of babies have been legally slaughtered at the hands of Planned Parenthood, various women’s centers and even so-called reputable hospitals, while our country ignores the atrocity in our own nation?

Margaret W. Adelsberger

Willow Grove