Letters to the Editor

Education and the Superman bandwagon | Federal Way letters

As a public school teacher, I feel compelled to challenge the rhetoric spilled forth by people such as guest columnist Bill Pirkle. It appears that everyone is jumping on the “Waiting for Superman" bandwagon. While I, personally, have not yet viewed this film I am completely dismayed by the amount of displeasure leveled at our public school systems. Mr. Pirkle, in your Nov. 10 editorial, you reprimand an unnamed school board for “policy governance.” I assume you are referring to the Federal Way School Board, however your lack of specifics leaves this open to interpretation.

Is it not ironic that you praise Michelle Rhee for her ability to set policy, yet our district should not be allowed to have the same capacities? Furthermore, what you fail to mention is your

solution. You talk about “grand speeches” and their “duty” as school board members, yet you fail to provide specific solutions. Mr. Pirkle, you continue your column by stating “let’s look at more examples.”

I will point out once again, that you provide no specific details on how you, sir, would improve our schools. Is one of your “solutions” to have students use their cell phones to take movie clips of teachers? Mr. Pirkle, in your recent editorial you failed to mention your deplorable advertisement asking students to “take clips of your teachers teaching and e-mail them to me.” For the record, this advertisement was located on page 19 of the Nov. 10 edition of the Federal Way Mirror. Mr. Pirkle, are you trying to be “Superman?” Are you trying to make the next “education” movie? Your desperate advertisement is a sad attempt at classic demagoguery. Mr. Pirkle, let me get this straight, you are adamant that we have failing schools and that we, as professional educators, are not providing the

children with an education and we promote “harmony” over real education, yet you are asking the very students who are not receiving an education to use their cell phones in the classroom to record their teachers teaching? How dare you ask this of our students!

Did it ever cross your intellectual mind that what you are asking students to do is not “harmonious” to the learning environment? The official Federal Way School Board policy bars the use of cell phones in the classroom. Not only are you advocating a disruptive learning environment, but you are also asking our students to violate an official school district policy. Every time an educator has to deal with a cell phone in class, it takes away from precious teaching time. You actually ran for the Federal Way School Board last year and now you are promoting this ridiculous campaign? I am challenging you, sir, to retract this advertisement immediately. This publicity stunt is not a solution, but rather a distraction that takes away from real issues in our schools.

Mr. Pirkle, I, along with most public school educators, attempt to be “Superman” every day. We work tirelessly to educate every student that comes through our classroom door. The real issues are much broader than just blaming the

teachers and the system. When I look around my school (Sequoyah Middle School) and other schools in Federal Way, I see “Supermen” and “Superwomen” who are making a huge difference in the lives of our youth. It is easy to place blame and throw stones, but it takes a real super hero to make real changes. Videotaping our teachers for some movie you are going to “put on the net” is neither “harmonious” nor a solution.

In closing, I have another challenge for Mr. Pirkle. I am personally inviting you into my classroom at Sequoyah Middle School. There are just two requests I have. First, you must commit to a full week, all day and each day. This way you will really see what it takes to be a teacher in our schools. Secondly, see the positives in the classroom

and please leave your video camera at home.

Chris McCrummen, Federal Way

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