Each month, The Oklahoman's editorial board recognizes a contributor to Your Views for a letter to the editor that exemplifies a timely, fair, accurate and cogent viewpoint. Bill Walker, of Yukon, is the honoree for letters that appeared in Your Views last month. His “Behavioral problems” letter was published Nov. 5.
Meet the writer:
Walker grew up in Temple, Texas, and graduated from North Texas State University with a degree in business administration. He retired from the finance department of AT&T in Oklahoma City. He and his wife, Claudia, have lived in Yukon since 1984. They have three grown children and one granddaughter who attends the University of Chicago.
The release of report cards giving grades on the performance of Oklahoma schools does nothing more than confirm what we already knew and offers no solutions. Some schools aren't successful in providing a basic education. In some districts, half of the schools got a D or worse. To remedy the situation we must start with the failing elementary schools. If these students aren't learning the “Three Rs,” they won't be prepared to handle subjects at a higher level.
At these failing elementary schools the problem isn't the schools, the teachers or the IQs of the students. It's more basic than that.
They're not learning because teachers aren't teaching. And this isn't their fault! Rather than teaching, they spend most of their time trying to control the behavior of children who don't have the self-control necessary to be receptive to learning. Can anyone be expected to be both a classroom teacher and a behavioral therapist? Any parent who doubts this should visit a classroom and see the obstacles these teachers face.
School administrators at the district and state levels should get out of their offices and spend a day as a substitute teacher. Perhaps then they'll comprehend the problem and divert some of their resources to supporting these teachers in creating an environment where their students can actually learn.