Letter: White statement insults teachers

This letter is in reference to State Education Superintendent John White’s comments in the Baton Rouge Advocate, Jan. 29, where he stated, “teachers who are leaving are more than likely ineffective.”

An immature and insulting statement, isn’t it? I’m offended by his comment, but I’ve come to expect it. Many teachers are tired of White constantly degrading us in the public’s eye.

I started teaching in Baton Rouge in 1979 and plan on retiring at the end of this school year. Based on White’s age, I began my career when he would just be finishing potty training (immature statement?). Based on current retirement policies, I am now eligible to complete my career.

I believe I have the right to retire after 34 years of dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly, without someone labeling me as “ineffective.” I truly hope my sports medicine students from past years who are serving as military medics, paramedics, physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons don’t become ineffective with age while they are caring for their patients.

Those who run the public school system in this state can’t tackle the real issue, which is having the students and parents held accountable because they know they have no control over those two entities. So, the next-best thing to do is blame the teachers for everything.

Despite recent articles to the contrary, good teachers could care less about evaluations. In about three or four years, White could enlighten the remaining teachers on the number of teachers who have left or retired, opposed to the number who are entering the profession. Maybe White should research the number of teachers in the state who currently have 25 or more years towards retirement versus those with zero-five years experience.

In 2010 the Legislature removed the act that allowed teachers to retire and rehire. Monetarily speaking, it’s no longer worth staying after 30 years plus three years of DROP (deferred retirement option plan). There is the real issue.

It takes a special, caring and many times a thick-skinned person to deal with the many issues involved with educating public school students today. I truly believe that fewer qualified people will choose the educational field as long as our educational leaders choose to constantly treat us like garbage.

Tim Gonda

teacher/athletic trainer

Baton Rouge