For years our teachers have asked for relief from the increasing demands of testing, paperwork, countless new programs that are researched based, pointless meetings and training sessions. It’s time to return to the basic premise that teachers are trained professionals who have first hand, on-the-job knowledge, to know how to meet their student’s needs.
The problem is not just salary and benefits. Bonuses may work to incentivize workers in the business world. Unlike the business world our classroom teachers have little or no control over their working environment (the number of students in their classroom), the raw material (their student’s propensity) and the process (curriculum).
The role of the teachers is to teach. Dealing with their students socio-economic and emotional problems is not part of their job description.  Today’s teachers find themselves to be in loco parentis because too many parents have ceded their responsibilities of child rearing to our classroom teachers. Here enters the wisdom of discipline. Parents should be held accountable if their child acts out, defy, use profanity, is disrespectful, or disrupts the classroom. Parents need to set standards and enforce concepts of accountable citizenship in the home. School administrators, principals, and teachers should be allowed to enforce their published code of conduct.
Graduation rates are an important measurement of our educational system. But, they are not the true indicator of what is happening in our classrooms. Though graduation is noteworthy it does not reveal if the graduate is prepared to be a productive, self-sufficient, self-actualized citizen. Many will face significant challenges even with a high school diploma because they may not be adequately prepared for life after high school.
Today’s student must be given classroom opportunities that will help them make the transition to life after school. I am familiar with a school system that has implemented pathway career academies. This school system conducted surveys and interviewed students, teachers, school administrators and business leaders prior to implementing the career academies. The career academies (schools-within-the-school-program) were then gradually offered as career exploring options in addition to fundamental education. Currently, there are nine academies offered to elementary students and middle school students have the opportunity to continue advanced studies of the nine. The basic nine academies include the arts, studies for the gifted, international studies, journalism, personalized learning, Montessori approach to citizenship, STEM, innovational and digital learning and one that introduces the student to mathematics and engineering. High school students can continue advance studies of the nine and/or explore medicine, public safety and law.
Our classroom teachers have earned and deserve our support. We can support them by working with them and support their educational initiatives.
Teacher union leaders, elected officials, house and senate educational committee members, educational bureaucrats and school board members seem to lack an understanding as to what goes on in our classrooms. They need to get into the trenches. I suggest that they become a substitute teacher or shadow a teacher for one month.

Gary Lyon Gary Lyon, a longtime Warsaw resident, is a retiree who has developed a sanctimonious pragmatist viewpoint from his life experiences. You can send comments to him through Facebook. Request to be added as a friend of Gary Lyon, Warsaw, Ind. He will do his best to respond to comments or suggestions.