Regarding “Working to build consensus could aid Barresi in long run” (Our Views, Nov. 15): State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi is trying hard to reform schools. Unfortunately, the problem now and always has been the parents. They must shoulder most of the responsibility, credit and blame for their children's success or failure. Until all educators and parents get this, castigating teachers and misplaced school “reform” will continue to be off-base and not very fruitful.
Yes, great teachers can always make an impact, but they will rarely be able to counter poor parenting. The social ills our society has, with absent or disinterested parents, hampers the ability of students to learn. Without factoring in what goes on at home, the school grading system is a silly and useless expenditure of labor and resources. Without parental oversight of a child's school and home work, as well as showing the child that learning is all important to the parents, we are asking the near-impossible.
Let's recognize that nearly every teacher in our school systems is trying hard to overcome some difficult impediments to teaching the children under their tutelage. Barresi should lighten up and try giving frequent positive reinforcement to influence behavior.
Kenneth F. Wainner, Edmond