Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Greg Bent

This is to the person that spoke of the person complaining about the teachers complaining in Thursday’s Tipsline. Look, TAPS is not going anywhere. The district has positioned itself such that many eyes are upon it. It must put its best face forward or lose face. Those at the head of this district are not easily going to lose face. Complaints or not, the district is not going to put an immediate end to TAPS.TAPS is a well-intended program. Like anything new or being pioneered, it takes time to fine tune. Providing teachers with teaching skills that challenge our students and financially rewards the teachers for becoming better teachers sounds good. Regrettably, our teachers are being pushed too far by taking on too many students, too many meetings, too much paperwork, and too much scrutiny. All the while being underpaid.While many teachers may very well not be in teaching for the money, they do need to at least be able to pay their basic bills like rent or maybe even a mortgage. We cannot ask our teachers to both live on the cusp of constant debt AND to deal with a program that causes them to hate doing what they once loved. Any (nominal) pay increases that teachers may earn from TAP come at too far a cost to offset any real worth.Last time I checked, people put up with a lot if they are paid even somewhat well. With most teachers’ wages varying between $32k and $38k (a take home of around just $22k to $26k), perhaps paying for day care and an occasional dinner out in town should not be a luxury that puts them in debt. Glenwood, Aspen and Denver schools all pay teachers more. In Denver, pay is about 10 to 15 percent more and homes in general cost 20 percent less than here. Sufficient pay and on par test scores are assisting these districts in keeping TAPS at arm’s length.Yes, our public school teachers are leaving at unprecedented rates. I hear that many schools in this district have teacher turnover in excess of 30 percent. Regardless of the actual turnover rate, the net effect is that teachers ARE leaving. As a result, principals are freaking out because the search for quality teachers is very difficult and more importantly, they are precariously walking a legal tightrope between student/teacher ratios. Many schools, if identified, could face serious legal repercussions.So, what’s to be done about our public school system other than to complain upon deaf ears and yes-men? I think a good start may be to educate students’ parents. Parents CAN HAVE a tremendous affect on what happens with our public schools here in the valley. Unfortunately, it seems that only those parents sending their children to the charter school care enough to make sure that BOTH the students and teacher are happy. It would seem that they have found a successful way to achieve teacher retention and elevated student test scores. Perhaps, this may be in part because rather than just bitch and talk, they take an active part in their children’s education and demand results.Oh, and to the person complaining about the teachers complaining: Where are your children going to school? Also, what do your children’s teachers think and how are your children doing in school?Greg BentHow it worksThe Eagle County School District wants to correct a false statement made in a recent Tipsline comment. The school district does not have a contract to pay the Milken Family Foundation for implementation and operation of the Teacher Advancement Program. However, the Milken Family Foundation does have a contract to pay the school district up to $45,000 annually to help fund a Teacher Advancement Program coordinator position. Here is how the school district funds the Teacher Advancement program: The voters approved a $3.1 million ballot question in November 2001 and $590,000 of that amount is used to pay annual teacher performance awards. Annual salary increases are paid with regular operating revenue as determined by the Colorado School Finance Act. In short, Eagle County schools do not pay the Milken Family Foundation to participate in the Teacher Advancement Program. Pam Boyd Communications Coordinator Eagle County School District Vail, Colorado

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