Letter: Look out! by Brian Holmes
What’s that up ahead? Oh, just another innocent referendum!
Well, I’ve read the school district’s PowerPoint and as best anyone can tell, the state is reducing its commitment to local education, making school boards ultimately responsible for their actions again. What a concept!
I’d be in favor of the referendum if the board had voiced even the slightest desire to increase class sizes over time, but so far they haven’t. It’s their fall-back position if they lose the referendum (22 students per teacher vs. the current 14 per teacher) but not their goal. That’s all classes district-wide, not just the vaunted SAGE classes.
Nobody wants to see “electives” gone, which is always their threat (or sports, or this, or that) but I’m perfectly happy with 25 students per teacher, starting in fourth grade. Yeah, I’m saying reduce teaching staff by 20 to 25 percent and keep teacher aides at least where they are today.
Personally, I don’t think five rows of five students in a class constitutes a human rights violation. My primary/secondary classes had 40 or more students per teacher.
That’s where we are. How big of a school payroll will citizens tolerate now and in the future?
The benefits of larger class sizes are many, one of the more sublime being that with proper instruction and consequences, students learn they don’t need babying anymore - a valuable tool for future adversity. They’d learn to sit, to listen and to learn, instead of doing and saying “whatever” all the while texting via Smartphone.
Maybe, just maybe, Rhinelander then would attract the quality newcomers and businesses it covets by reducing taxes instead of increasing them. Taxes are universally understood to have a negative consequence, not a positive.
Really, I think government-employee 401(k)s combined with Social Security are the answer to governmental budget woes instead of the lifelong guaranteed benefit pensions now so prominent.
Until all levels of government become financially responsible, we are, as they say, just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Brian Holmes, Rhinelander
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