Kudos to the Weekly for printing 4J School Board member Gordon Lafer’s guest Viewpoint, ”The Real Challenge in 4J Schools.” (11/4) He needed the opportunity to speak with the public after allegations of “blood spilling” and “disrespecting” district staff.
I campaigned for Lafer in the 2019 school board elections because I want to see changes in 4J. I taught in the district for 20 years, and I know what worked to support me as a classroom teacher and what didn’t. 4J was a national leader in public education in the 1970s and 80s, but my current teacher friends — and a few brave principals — tell me they are part of a top-down, one-size-fits-all system that devalues them as the front line professionals they are. This is dangerous.
Lafer wants change in 4J for his daughter, for all students. Teachers are the key to education success. We know this. Change begins with acknowledging the importance of teachers — and educational aides, principals, all support staff in our schools — and giving them back the right and responsibility to do what they are trained and hired to do. This means bringing them back into the dialogue as full partners on what works and what doesn’t in our schools.
The 4J School Board has four newer members, all elected in the past two years, who campaigned for change. I support them.