On Wednesday March 8, many of the teachers of the Alexandria City Public Schools and the School Board taught the students and citizens of our city a series of lessons. However, they may not necessarily be the lessons they wanted to teach. It is apparent to many that these individuals, with the acquiescence of the board, put their own concerns over those of our students and taxpayers.
First, as a result of Wednesday’s protest, the students that were in most need were forgotten. The purpose of educators is to educate and in a city where we have high performing schools just blocks from unaccredited ones, our system and students need education now more than ever. Protests have their place but not at the expense of the education of our next generation.
Second, as many of the teachers demonstrated, a protest has results and consequences. Perhaps students could respond by protesting homework, or grades, or citizens could protest taxes that fund teacher pay for those who engage in activities that do not involve student instruction, or any number of vicious circles.
Third, as some of these teachers who protested and the ACPS advocate for their FY18 budget request, all citizens and taxpayers should consider reforming school policy so that students are put first and instruction is the priority. My hope is that the teachers and board plan to improve those schools that are unaccredited or are overcrowded, rather than providing pay increases for teachers who do not teach. Additionally, this protest underscores the need for school choice policies that allow taxpayers to send their funds to schools that teach students rather than encourage teacher protests. Perhaps U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos has a valid point after all.