As a teacher about to return to work in the school district you just retired from, I’d like to comment about the cheapest paper, cheapest teacher remark. It was used again last fall by a small pocket of Tea Partiers speaking to the Board about cost containment.
Citizens of Park Ridge, you need to get a clue. Your public schools are the only things your city has going for it. Your property values are declining, and your property taxes are increasing, like just about everywhere else. Your local government is broke and has had to lay off police officers. Take a look at your downtown. Store after store is empty and you have no industry to speak of. People still buy homes in Park Ridge because of the excellent reputation of the SCHOOL SYSTEM. They don’t move here to eat at Houlihan’s or go to the Pickwick. If the Board were to hire the “cheapest teachers,” your schools would decline faster than Facebook’s stock price. When the schools decline, there go your property values. The experience of the teachers, their level of education, and their commitment to your children is what makes your schools excellent. Containing costs when it comes to hiring educators does not. A younger teacher doesn’t mean a better teacher, an older one doesn’t mean worse. There is a need for every level of teaching experience in your schools, and to suggest otherwise is ignorant.
We have no contract as of this writing. Teachers in D64 will nevertheless return to work on August 20. That’s what we do. We teach children, and if you’re looking strictly at standardized test scores, we do a fantastic job. There is more to it than test scores, however. You don’t see the intense work that goes on to make sure all of our students, your children, succeed. That takes collaboration between your educators at all levels on the pay scale.
District 64 Schools are the jewel in Park Ridge’s crown. If you truly want Park Ridge to remain “A Wonderful Place,” let your School Board know that you want your schools to continue to offer a superb education while keeping your property values steady. Tell them you are not on board with hiring “the cheapest.”
A Faculty Member of D64